Moving EMS forward

Following the publication of a second draft of the revised 14001 standard, Martin Baxter explains what the new proposals mean for practitioners

Significant changes are proposed in the latest draft of ISO 14001, the international environment management systems (EMS) standard. Given that more than 285,000 organisations in 167 countries are certified against its requirements, and many others use 14001 without going for certification, the changes have the potential to make a positive difference on a global scale.

The big picture

The revision to 14001 needs to be considered in a broad economic and environmental context – particularly as the new standard will not be published until 2015 and will remain in use until the mid-2020s. The economic issues are pretty straightforward: 14001 has to help organisations cut costs, improve productivity, capitalise on business opportunities, maintain and enhance brand, and reduce risks. Of course, if it did not already support organisations to achieve this it wouldn’t have achieved the take-up it has, but it must now help users to up the pace in all of these areas.

The environmental context is changing, particularly when considering how the environment can affect a company’s ability to create value in the long term. More organisations are seeing the benefits of taking a longer-term view on the way that the environment will shape and influence their future. In revising 14001, the environment profession ...

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