ISO 14001: Steps to Certification

 This is our fourth in a series on: Branching out – Other Standards based upon ISO 9001.  This is #2 of 2 on ISO 14001 – Environmental Systems.

Steps to ISO 14001 Certification

 What do we need to do to become ISO 14001 Registered?

You will need to get some general training on ISO 14001 so you understand what you need to do in your company to meet the requirements of the standard.

Consider Introduction to ISO 14001 presentation materials package.

As with any ISO 9001 based Standard, there is an initial assessment and four basic steps of Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA):

For the Initial Assessment: Establish your environmental goals (policy) and Conduct an Initial Environmental Review. State your environmental position, determining your organization’s current status and compare it to the goals you plan to meet.

View the free online tutorial Initial Environmental Audit

1. PLAN: Develop and document your ISO 14001 Environmental Manual and Procedures
The biggest portion of the project is looking at your current processes, and redesigning them to address all of the requirements in the standard. Once you have modified or developed processes to meet the standard, you will need to control those processes. Documenting the processes as Quality System procedures is part of this control.

Learn about the ISO 14001 Documentation Package

2. DO: Use and improve your EMS
Once your system is developed and documented, employees will follow the procedures as part of running your organization. For approximately three months or more, your organization will run the EMS, collecting records.

Learn more about Auditing ISO 14001

3. CHECK: Checking for any problems and correcting them.
Your organization will self-audit, collect records, and make improvements to the system. This prepares the organization for a Self-Declaration of compliance and/or an Audit by a Registrar.

During these audits, the Auditor will be looking at your EMS to make sure that it meets the requirements of the standard. If they find that there are pieces of your EMS that do not meet the requirements, they will document a “Nonconformance”. Your registration will be dependant on your correcting any nonconformances that are found.

4. ACT : Evaluating the effectiveness of the EMS and improving it
Your team will continually review the processes and look for areas of improvement, raising the goals once they are met.

The documented Requirements of ISO 14001 are:

  • 4.1 Environmental Policy
  • 4.2 Planning
  • 4.2.1 Environmental Aspects
  • 4.2.2 Legal and Other Requirements
  • 4.2.3 Objectives and Targets
  • 4.2.4 Environmental Management Program(s)
  • 4.3 Implementation and Operation
  • 4.3.1 Structure and Responsibility
  • 4.3.2 Training, Awareness, and Competence
  • 4.3.3 Communication
  • 4.3.4 EMS Documentation
  • 4.3.5 Document Control
  • 4.3.6 Operational Control
  • 4.3.7 Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • 4.4 Checking and Corrective Action
  • 4.4.1 Monitoring and Measurement
  • 4.4.2 Corrective and Preventative Action
  • 4.4.3 Records
  • 4.4.4 EMS Audit
  • 4.5 Management Review

The additional ISO 14000 Series Standards are really guidelines to help you achieve registration to ISO 14001.

  • ISO 14004 provides guidance on the development and implementation of environmental management systems
  • ISO 14010 provides general principles of environmental auditing (now superseded by ISO 19011)
  • ISO 14011 provides specific guidance on audit an environmental management system (now superseded by ISO 19011)
  • ISO 14012 provides guidance on qualification criteria for environmental auditors and lead auditors (now superseded by ISO 19011)
  • ISO 14013/5 provides audit program review and assessment material.
  • ISO 14020+ labeling issues
  • ISO 14030+ provides guidance on performance targets and monitoring within an Environmental Management System
  • ISO 14040+ covers life cycle issues

Note: ISO 14001 is the only ISO 14000 standard which can be certified by a Registrar.

Learn about ISO 14001

The ISO 14001 Workbook is a series of detailed checklists, exercises and instructions that take you through 30 systematic tasks for your organization to consider and complete.

The Workbook includes a set of three ISO 14001 PowerPoint training presentations designed to be a companion to the Workbook. Use these to train everyone in the organization on the ISO 14001 implementation and system. These products are all integrated to work together to help you achieve certification. This is an effective method that is well suited to small and medium size organizations.

This is #2 of 2 on ISO 14001 – Environmental Systems. Next we will address AS9100 – Aerospace Systems.


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