ISO 14001 2015 Revisions: Are You Ready and Willing?

This year is going to be full of change. As well as the CDM (Construction, Design and Management) 2015 legislative changes, companies preparing for BIM (Building Information Modelling) Level 2 - there are also revisions being made to the Environmental Management standard 14001. The changes are due for implementation in Q3 2015 and are currently in draft form. ISO 14001 is the most popular of all the standards - which has been attributed to the continuous development of the content to keep it up to date with the latest ecological, political and social trends.

Do businesses need to take note and therefore work towards the revisions?

The answer is yes - most definitely.

The changes appear to put Environmental Management at the core of business planning – making it an integral part of a business. The apparent benefits seem to way out the negatives. The change in structure reflects the desire to standardize so that resources are used in the most effective way possible, making projects sustainable now and in the future.

In addition to standardization, experts have identified the need to make the standards more integrate-able so that the adoption of other standards can be done more easily. One of the major concerns of companies when embarking on the journey to certification is the amount of work involved. Standardization and integrate-ability will make this journey easier.

Most ISO changes (and even with non – ISO standards/guidance) are heading towards a system where you need to be able perform a detailed life-cycle analysis. BIM is a perfect example of this kind of structure, as well as the established idea of CDM. This has got to be a positive step especially because of the impact on liability and help with a companywide approach to standardization.

Even though there have been no formal studies or evidence to suggest this makes financial sense – surely the idea of a standardization, integrate-ability and detail on liability should make a good case for ISO 14001 and in fact any ISO standard.

There is also the case of social responsibility. When undertaking certification for this "green" ISO you are committing to making your company an environmentally friendly organisation. Making everyone accountable for an outcome within a business provides that feeling of ownership. This is never a bad idea.

Dr Paul Stevens (ISO 14001 Consultant) points to company culture as being the main challenge in adopting this standard. As with any change management Paul suggests that you do it properly, embrace it and get employee buy-in. This can be done by employee engagement and effective internal communication. Thus, creating an environmentally aware workforce as well as developing a culture of improvement.

This is why businesses should take note….


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