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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 (PDCA) 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.


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

Normative references

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

Terms and definitions

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

  • Organisations and leadership
  • Planning
  • Support and operation
  • Performance evaluation and improvement

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.

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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 environmental management system.


This clause of ISO 14001 related to identifying any risk or opportunity that could impact the organisation’s environmental management system, and planning to address them, where necessary. More specifically, you need to set your objectives and state how you plan to achieve them without the environmental management system.


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


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 environmental management system. 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.

Performance evaluation

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


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

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

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Contact Us

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

IMSM Ltd Head Office The Gig House
Oxford Street
SN16 9AX

Tel: 01666 826 065