Environmental Management System (EMS)

ISO 14000:2015

An Environmental Management System is a systematic approach to environmental management aiming to protect the environment, fulfil compliance obligations and enhance environmental performance among many other objectives.  The international standard provides a framework for the management system to protect the environment and respond to changes in environmental conditions.

ISO 14000 is a family of standards related to environmental management that exists to help organizations

a) minimize how their operations (processes, etc.) negatively affect the environment (i.e. cause adverse changes to air, water, or land);
(b) comply with applicable laws, regulations, and other environmentally oriented requirements; and
(c) continually improve in the above.

The Standard ISO 14001 is split up into sections, based on the plan, do, check, act model and each section contains several clauses which describes what an organisation must do to meet the requirements of the standard.  The first few sections of the standard are concerned with the scope of the standard, references and definitions to support organisations looking to implement an EMS.  The next seven sections contain the standard clauses.  They include:

  • Context of the organisation – involves assessing the needs of interested parties and determining the scope of your EMS
  • Leadership – highlights the importance of commitment and involvement from top management and has clauses about the delegation of roles and responsibilities and the requirements for an environmental policy
  • Planning –establishing environmental objectives and the processes necessary to deliver them in line with the environmental policy. Also includes clauses on determining environmental aspects and compliance obligations
  • Support – includes clauses on the resources required to operate an EMS, competency and awareness, communication and requirements for documented information
  • Operation –planning and controlling operations to minimize environmental impact and preparing for emergencies
  • Performance evaluation – monitoring and measuring the processes established through evaluation of compliance, internal auditing and reviewing it at a management level
  • Improvement – the last section contains clauses about responding to non-conformities and continually improving environmental performance

It can be used as :

  • process to revolutionize your business
  • mechanism to enhance productivity
  • tool to optimize your "contract with Mother Nature"
  • purchasing criterion or vendor screening opportunity
  • enabler of innovation and collaboration between companies
  • passport to trade
  • opportunity for professionalizing management
  • succession tool preparing for transfer or sale of the business
  • guideline for corporate reporting