The ISO 14001 Standard

ISO 14001 is the most widely recognised environmental management system standard in the world. It demonstrates your commitment to controlling the impact of your activities on the environment.

The ISO 14001 standard requires that businesses implement an environmental management system (EMS) designed to reduce an organisation’s impact on the environment through more efficient use of resources and waste reduction. Achieving ISO 14001 certification also helps organisations gain a competitive advantage, apply for ISO 14001 tenders and win the trust of stakeholders and customers.

What is ISO 14001?

Developed by the International Organization for Standardization, ISO 14001 helps businesses understand and effectively control their environmental impact and processes. ISO 14001 is suited to different sectors and types of organisations – including SMEs, charities, corporates and the public sector – and fosters more effective resource usage.

An environmental management system provides a framework for processes, operations, leadership and customer focus that assess environmental issues relevant to operations, such as resource management.

Our ISO 14001 consultant services

The standard provides a best practice approach to improving your environmental performance and ensuring you remain legally compliant. UKAS accredited ISO 14001 certification is increasingly a requirement of being a supplier to large companies, local government departments or government-funded bodies concerned with environmental impact.

Our ISO 14001 consultants have helped hundreds of UK organisations achieve UKAS accredited ISO 14001 certification. Our consulting services range from initial assessment and impartial advice to the full implementation of an environmental management system.

Find out about our ISO consultants and our fixed-price ISO 14001 certification services.

What is an environmental management system?

ISO 14001 provides a roadmap for improving every organisation’s environmental performance by adopting sound environmental management principles, including:

  • Maintaining commitment from senior management and buy-in from employees.
  • Assessing the impact your activities have on the environment.
  • Maintaining controls on your activities that have a significant environmental impact.
  • Monitoring developments in environmental legislation and checking compliance.
  • Continually looking for opportunities to reduce your impact on the environment and/or improving the environmental benefit of your products and services.

Learn more about our ISO consultancy services, ISO audits and full ISO outsourcing services.

Interested in other ISO standards?
  • ISO 9001 – Quality management standard that demonstrates an organisational commitment to product and service quality.
  • ISO 17025 – Testing management standard the demonstrates testing integrity and independence.
  • ISO 22301 – Business continuity management standard that reduces the impact of disruption on organisational activities.
  • ISO 27001 – Information security management systems standard designed to reduce IT and IS risks and lower data threats.
  • ISO 45001 – Enhance occupational health and safety management systems, reducing the risk of injury and harm in the workplace.
  • ISO 50001 – Improve energy efficiency across operations, premises, transport and industrial processes.

Find out more

Any organisation that wishes to manage its environmental impact, remain compliant with environmental legislation or support the environmental objectives of its customers will benefit from achieving ISO 14001 certification.

ISO 14001 has been designed to be appropriate for any type or size of an organisation. For SMEs, it enhances their credibility. For larger organisations, ISO 14001 reinforces their environmental credentials and promotes the environmental benefits of their products and services.

As an increasing number of buyers demand their suppliers demonstrate a commitment to managing and reducing their environmental impact, achieving ISO 14001 can help keep your organisation ahead of your competitors. It can help your organisation apply for ISO 14001 tenders.

Our ISO 14001 consultants can help you maximise the benefits of a quality management system, and we guarantee ISO 14001 certification through our consultancy services.

ere are four key ways that ISO 14001 standards certification can help.

1. ISO 14001 enables you to increase your sales by expanding your customer base and meeting the conditions of specific sales contracts.

Blue chip and local government organisations are increasingly demonstrating their commitment to the environment by becoming ISO 14001 certified. To help improve their performance, these organisations are more and more likely to insist that their suppliers are also ISO 14001 certified. Often, suppliers are expected to have ISO 14001 as a prerequisite to winning contracts and tenders. Equas clients have won significant new business since gaining ISO 14001 certification.

2. ISO 14001 can reduce costs

By implementing the processes required to achieve and maintain certification to ISO 14001, most organisations reduce their costs in waste handling, transportation, and raw materials and energy consumption. In most instances, implementing ISO 14001 provides a catalyst to finding new ways to achieve more efficient use of resources.

3. ISO 14001 can strengthen your brand

A growing number of customers are attracted to dealing with organisations that are seen as operating responsibly with consideration for their environment and community. Being certified to ISO 14001 increases the likelihood that customers and other third parties will have a positive image of your organisation and your brand.

4. ISO 14001 can reduce operating risk

ISO 14001 drives organisations to be aware of their environmental legal obligations and implement measures to ensure that they remain compliant and are not exposed to unforeseen events.

You need to decide whether to use a UKAS-accredited or non-UKAS accredited certification body. You need to ensure you satisfy your current and potential customers’ requirements for UKAS certification.

All our ISO 14001 consultants work with UKAS accredited ISO certification, ensuring your ISO 9001 certification is widely recognised.

  1. Decide which of your products, services and locations you want to include in the scope of the certification.
  2. Decide when you want to achieve certification and plan to maintain the momentum of the project. We recommend three to four months as a comfortable period to complete the necessary work for one standard.
  3. Identify and allocate the resources required to complete the project by your target certification date. Where necessary, engage the support of an external consultancy firm.
  4. Decide how you will operate and maintain your management system documents and records, such as PC, local server or specialist quality management system software such as our Activ Online Management System.

Commence the ISO 14001 project:

  • Ensure you have buy-in from key colleagues.
  • Carry out a Gap Analysis of your current system against the certification requirements.
  • Plan the project, including resources and timescales.
  • Appoint a Certification Body.

ISO 14001 implementation:

  • Project manage to ensure key milestones and deadlines are met.
  • Map your operating processes to get a high-level overview.
  • Create appropriate documents to control your operating processes (such as purchasing, order processing and employee training).
  • Train your employees in the policies, procedures and control measures that are relevant to them.
  • Carry out an Internal Audit and close out any significant actions identified.
  • Complete your first Management Review meeting.

Undergo a certification audit by a UKAS-accredited certification body:

This audit will be split into two visits. The first visit will review your system documentation (referred to as a Stage 1 audit). The second visit will audit your records, interview employees and assess whether you have effectively implemented your system (referred to as a Stage 2 audit).

Our ISO 14001 consultant team carry out independent ISO 14001 audits prior to applying for certification.

The return you make on your investment in implementing and maintaining an ISO 14001 certified quality management system will depend on a number of factors.

  • What new business you win or retain from customers who require you to have ISO 14001 certification.
  • How well you exploit your ISO 14001 certification in your marketing and PR materials.
  • The emphasis you place on identifying and implementing improvements that enhance your current service or product offerings.
  • The time taken to achieve certification. The longer it takes you to achieve certification, the longer it will be before you realise any benefits.
  • It’s often the case that organisations that take a long time to achieve certification have to undertake a certain amount of rework during the project due to personnel changes or changes in operating processes.
  • How inefficient and inconsistent your operations were before you started on the certification process.
  • How well you maintain your environmental management system after you’ve achieved certification.

The ISO 14001 standard has recently been revised, and a new version of the standard was released in September 2015.

However, if you are certified before the new version comes into force, you will be able to retain your ISO 14001:2004 certification for up to 3 years from the date on which you first achieved certification.

The main differences between the 2004 version and the 2015 revision are:

  • An increased requirement to demonstrate continual improvement in your environmental performance.
  • A need to identify external/internal issues, relevant parties and requirements and assess the risk these pose to your environmental management system achieving its objectives.
  • A requirement to conduct a high-level risk assessment to identify areas where you can improve.
  • The need for scopes to be more detailed and explicitly stated.
  • Increased focus on the hands-on involvement of the senior management – expect auditors to conduct more extensive interviews with CEOs and other Board members.

Please contact Equas if you would like advice and support on how to amend your current environmental management system to comply with the requirements of ISO 14001:2015.

We want to ensure that our customers achieve the key benefits of investing in becoming ISO certified, particularly with respect to:

  • Winning tenders with government bodies and blue-chip organisations
  • Reducing their risk status with regulatory bodies
  • Lowering insurance premiums and improving productivity

For this reason, we strongly recommend that organisations achieve certification with a UKAS-accredited body. Whilst we remain impartial on the certification body our customers use, we always strongly advise them against using a non-accredited body. Non-accredited certification or “self-certification” is highly likely to be rejected by potential customers.

For more details on the potential consequences of not selecting the UKAS-accredited route to certification, click on the links to the articles below.

Case Studies

For more information, see our Case Studies:

How can ISO in a Box™ help you?

We can help you achieve ISO 14001 certification whatever your industry sector. If you need to meet the requirements of other standards alongside, we specialise in building integrated systems.

Contact us now to find out how to achieve ISO 14001, discuss your requirements or to obtain a fixed-price quotation with guaranteed certification.