What are the 10 clauses of ISO 14001?

December 16th, 2019 By Marketing

The ISO 14001 standard outlines the requirements necessary to implement an environmental management system (EMS). It is a generic standard which means it can apply to businesses of all industries and sizes that are looking to reduce their environmental impact.

The ISO 14001 requirements are separated into 10 different sections that follow the Plan Do Check Act management method. Broadly speaking clauses 1-6 are included in the Plan stage of the process. 7-8 are involved in the Do stage, clause 9 in the Check Stage and clause 10 in the Act stage.

If you’re interested in getting ISO 14001 certified, but aren’t entirely sure what the process entails, a closer look into the 10 clauses should give you a better understanding.

ISO 14001 clauses explained

1. Scope

Outline the scope of the EMS. It should be consistent with an organisation’s environmental policy. The intended outcomes should aim to enhance your environmental performance and fulfill compliance obligations.

2. Normative references

There are no normative references in ISO 14001:2015. This clause was included to keep the numbering identical to previous editions.

3. Terms & definitions

This section explains any relevant terms and definitions, which are separated out into four categories:

  • Organisation & leadership
  • Planning
  • Support & operation
  • Performance evaluation & improvement

4. Context of the organisation

The environmental issues that affect an organisation will vary greatly depending on their size and industry. This section requires you to establish the internal and external issues that could affect your business or interested parties, and any compliance regulations that you need to meet.

5. Leadership

Like most ISO standards you are required to outline staff roles and responsibilities within the management system.
The standard also outlines the importance of top managers’ involvement in the implementation, maintenance, and continual improvement of the EMS.

6. Planning

This clause of ISO 14001 relates to identifying any risk or opportunity that could impact the organisation’s EMS, and planning to address them, where necessary. More specifically, you need to set your objectives and state how you plan to achieve them within the EMS.

7. Support

This is the largest section of the ISO 14001, addressing requirements on resources, communication and documentation. You need to ensure that your employees at all levels are informed on the policies of your EMS, understand their role in contributing to the success of it, and are competent enough to do so effectively.

8. Operation

This clause states that you need to assess which of your activities have a significant environmental impact, establishing written processes for activities contained within the scope of the EMS. This could include manufacturing, transportation, product disposal, etc.
These processes should incorporate solutions to the risks identified in Clause 6.

You must also state how you plan to prepare and respond to emergency situations that might have adverse environmental impacts.

9. Performance evaluation

Here you need to outline how you will monitor, measure, analyse and evaluate your environmental management system. This should include plans for an internal audit program and regular management reviews..

10. Improvement

As with most ISO standards a commitment to continual improvement is an important aspect. Here you also need to address non-conformities in your EMS processes and any corrective actions.

Your EMS must keep up with any changes in business processes, or with any new regulations that come into place.

Want to know more? Download our free guide:

Environmental ISO guide

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Contact Us

For a free Quotation or On-Site presentation by an ISO Specialist, contact us today!

IMSM Canada Ltd
The Exchange Tower, PO Box 427
130 King Street West Suite 1900
Toronto, M5X 1E3

Tel: 416-945-6649