ISO 14000 Environmental Management System

ISO 14000 was first published in 1996.  It was later updated in 2004.  The EMS standard is a global series of standards.  It was built on the ISO 9000 series to promote the process of standardization.

It is a set of voluntary environmental management standards and suggested technical reports that focus on environmental management systems, operating practices, products, and services. The general aim is to help facilitate international trade and commerce.  Organizations can all or part of the ISO 14000 series. They do not force performance targets, but provide organizations with the methods tools to assess and manage the impact of their activities on the environment.

ISO 14000 Standard follows these aspects of environmental management:

  • Environmental Management Systems (EMS)
  • Environmental Labels and Declarations (EL)
  • Environmental Performance Evaluation (EPE)
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
  • Environmental Auditing & Related Investigations (EA&RI)
  • Terms and Definitions (T&D)

To Comply with the ISO 14000 EMS, and Organization:

  • Assures customers of your commitment to demonstrable environmental management
  • Meets your clients' registration requirements
  • Improves cost control by identifying and eliminating waste and inefficiency
  • Lessens incidents that result in liability
  • Reduces your consumption of materials and energy
  • Facilitates the attainment of permits and authorizations
  • Maintains excellent public relations
  • Satisfies investor criteria and improves access to capital
  • Obtains insurance at reasonable cost
  • Enhances your image and market share
  • Decreases the cost of complying with environmental regulations
  • Improves industry-government relations

ISO 14000 registration

Organizations may simply state that they meet the requirements of ISO 14001 ("self-declaration"). However, many organizations choose to have their EMS registered by an accredited registrar.

The principles behind the ISO 14000 standard

The ISO 14000 standards and documents have the following key principles:

  • To result in better environmental management
  • To be cost-effective, non-prescriptive and flexible so they are able to meet the differing needs of organizations of any type or size, worldwide
  • As part of their flexibility, to be suitable for internal and/or external verification
  • To be scientifically based
  • To encompass environmental management systems and the environmental aspects of products
  • To be applicable in all countries
  • To promote the broader interests of the public as well as users of these standards
  • Above all, to be manageable and useful

International Trade and ISO 14000

ISO attempts to avoid unnecessary barriers to trade. The objective of environmental management standards has been to develop a common language for environmental issues, so businesses, prospective customers, and governments are certain that environmental concerns have been addressed.