Environmental Management Systems

ISO 14001

Environmental Management Systems

ISO 14001 provides a set of requirements against which an Environmental Management System (EMS) can be evaluated in any type of organisation.


A well run EMS will help you to protect the environment you operate within, meet your legal obligations and allow you to promote a strong commitment to improving the environment.

Working to and implementing an ISO 14001 EMS is a well-proven way of demonstrating that protecting the environment is an important part of the way you run your business. Implementing ISO 14001 policies will enable you to demonstrate to customers and stakeholders that your business is committed to reducing its environmental impact.

Any business, of any size, operating in any area of commerce can apply for ISO 14001 certification. Certification to this standard is becoming more popular and, implemented effectively, demonstrates that you are committed to improving the environmental performance of your business.

All recently updated versions of ISO standards have a common structure of 10 sections enabling any business, working to an ISO standard anywhere in the world, to show evidence of:

1-3 – The Scope of your EMS including normative references, terms & definitions

4 – Understanding the context of your organisation including recognising the needs and expectations of interested parties

5 – Leadership and worker participation

6 – Planning of business activities including addressing risks and opportunities and setting objectives that are S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and time-based) that have relevance at all levels of the business meaning each employee understands how their job supports meeting the Environmental Objectives

7 – Providing support to enable those activities

8 – Operating your business to achieve the EMS

9 – Evaluating performance through feedback, internal auditing and management review

10 – Improvement!

Businesses should adopt a “Plan, Do, Check, Act” process approach that can be explained as:

Your Environmental policies, procedures, work instructions etc.

The actual work you do

How do you monitor, measure, obtain feedback and assess objectives?

Management review activities assess performance and act to improve

This “PDCA” cycle leads to continual improvement and can be summarised as follows:

Why have it?

Many organisations, including large Government departments and many larger commercial organisations with whom you might wish to consider working, make holding ISO 14001 a requirement in their tendering process. Implementing ISO 14001 policies will enable you to demonstrate to customers and stakeholders that your business is committed to reducing its environmental impact.

How do you do it?

To implement ISO 14001:2015 successfully, your organisation should:

  • Gain commitment and support from top management
  • Complete a “Gap-Analysis” where you acquire a copy of the standard and study every section and detail and identify areas where there is work to be done to comply with the standard
  • Create an action plan involving a logical sequence of activities including setting timescales for completion, responsibilities within your organisation and identifying resources needed – summarised as “What, When, Who and How”
  • Involve everyone working in the business with effective internal communication
  • Get customer and supplier feedback on your current environmental management
  • Adapt the basic principles of environmental management to your business
  • Encourage employee involvement by offering training and incentives
  • Encourage employees to continually check the EMS is working (in effect – act as internal auditors)
  • Regularly review your ISO 14001 system to ensure continuous improvement.

You would normally then run with the EMS for a period and carry out a full formal internal audit to check everything is in place and the system is working effectively within your business.

Once you feel you are ready for assessment you can call QSS in to conduct your initial assessment audit. We will spend, depending on the complexity of your business, at least the best part of one day auditing the EMS against the standard and your documented procedures. This may or may not reveal nonconformities that will have to be addressed and corrected (as applicable) before you are deemed as compliant. Once you are deemed as being compliant QSS will issue a certificate providing third-party confirmation that you meet the requirements of ISO 14001. After initial certification, QSS would re-audit you annually to confirm you continue to meet the requirements of the standard.

For a more detailed summary of the contents and requirements of ISO 14001, you may find this website helpful: http://www.praxiom.com/iso-14001.htm


As mentioned above you need to first purchase a copy of the standard and then budget costs for implementing and running the QMS prior to initial assessment. You may wish to do this yourselves or you may engage an appropriately qualified and experienced independent consultant who can quote to assist you through the preparation process.

QSS can then, on request, complete your initial assessment and set up an annual surveillance cycle.

Please contact us for costs.

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