Preparing for transition to ISO 14001:2015, what you need to know

If you are preparing to make the transition to ISO 14001:2015, you need to understand the implications of the new requirements of the revised standard, so that you can plan how to address them in the time remaining for recertification. SLR's Nigel Leehane (Technical Director - EMPC) will be posting a series of articles on the key changes, and the steps organisations can take to address them effectively. 

There are differing perspectives on the complexity of the transition process, ranging from “the new standard is very complicated and will be difficult to conform to” to “it’s not asking for much more, just a few bolt-ons”. The reality is somewhere in between. The revised standard is encouraging us to take a different approach to our processes for environmental management, which does require more than bolting on a few new components to our EMS. There is far more inter-linkage between the clauses, and also encouragement for organisations to integrate their environmental management processes with other business tools (IEMA has referred to this as a spider’s web). It sounds complicated, but isn’t this simply the way in which successful business work? Integration should involve greater participation within the organisation, fostering a common understanding and vision, and providing the opportunity to share the load. 

The spider’s web theme can be applied to many of the new requirements. For example, the competence clause itself doesn’t impose anything significantly different; however, other clauses will result in a need to improve competence, or at the very least the awareness, of a range of staff within an organisation. Similarly, maintaining an understanding of compliance status doesn’t just involve a periodic compliance audit; it requires a variety of processes (monitoring, assessment, inspection, reporting, etc.). Other themes running through the standard include taking a life cycle perspective and addressing risks and opportunities.

 SLR will be posting a series of articles, exploring how organisations can plan to incorporate these new requirements into their management processes, to improve not only environmental performance but also increase the efficiencies of their business processes. The first will examine the new concept of an organisation’s “context”, and show how this requirement can be addressed simply and effectively, providing a valuable input not only to the EMS but to overall business strategy. 

If you would like more information on the transition and support available, please get in touch by contacting Nigel at nleehane@slrconsulting.com.