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Use the ISO 14001 standard to prevent pollution and continually improve environmental performance on products, services and activities


Why You Need ISO 14001

In 2017, organisations missed out on nearly £500bn of value they could have earned.

With an effective environmental management system, the continual improvement and ongoing critical assessment of performance will ensure you don’t make the same mistake.

Benefits of ISO 14001
Environmental management


Eliminate and reduce risks of pollution


Improve your environmental performance and legal compliance

Enhance your
environmental portfolio

Improve the environmental performance of products and services

ISO 14001 is the internationally recognised standard for Environmental management (EMS). The purpose of the Environmental management system is to enable organisations to:

  • Continually seek methods to eliminate waste and risks of pollution
  • Reassure interested parties that you are putting environmental issues high on your agenda
  • Provide regulators with assurance that you comply with environmental legislation and other requirements

ISO 14001 is written as a generic standard and provides a management framework for an organisation to manage and improve Environmental performance. Critically, ISO 14001 focuses the attention of the organisation on eliminating waste and pollution.

Many organisations will manage some areas of environmental risk but the level of governance provided by an ISO 14001 EMS management system leads to systemic and organised improvement on environmental performance over time. As a result, environmental management will become a key focus for workers and contractors in all aspects of their work.

ISO 14001 puts a great deal of emphasis on leadership and senior management commitment to creating a culture and awareness of environmental performance. The standard also requires control of contractors, who can represent a significant risk but can be overlooked.

Yes, environmental management can be managed in parallel with other standards.

Procedures and instructions written for environmental management can be written in conjunction with quality procedures and Safe Systems of Work to provide workers with a complete set of instructions or guidance.

Within ISO 14001, an organisation is required to understand its significant environmental aspects and set out to manage them. EMS management will interact with these areas (e.g. managing environmental noise, or chemical handling), so control procedures can be combined.

In addition, ISO 14001 requirements will support an organisation planning for business continuity, in that the aspects of risk arising from significant disruptive events can be prepared for and actions put in place to manage them if they arise. Environmental planning can be applied to the actions that take place during recovery; for example, assessing the risk of new premises or temporary working arrangements, waste management, reconstruction and finally transition back to the normal working condition.

Environmental management, as all the ISO management systems, has adopted the PDCA cycle as the basis of continual improvement. Organisations don’t have to be perfect from the start, but the expectation is that improvements are made over time.

In following the plan-do-check-act process, the management team begins the planning process by understanding the environmental aspects of the organisation and then setting clear controls and objectives to manage and improve over time. As a result, the organisation will be able to:

  • Eliminate risks, reduce waste and prevent pollution
  • Improve controls for environmental management
  • Report environmental performance and engage with workers and customers

A Deeper Understanding

As with all ISO standards, you can sometimes get lost in the jargon. We've listed some frequently asked questions here.

We know that reading about it isn't the same as a good chat. Speak to us to find out what it means to you and your business.


Improve Performance

Enhance your business even further with the good practices and requirements in ISO 14001.
The Standard builds on common practices found in every good organisation.

Getting ISO 14001 Certification

Let Spedan take care of the process for you. Our consultants are based across the UK and ready to talk through your project, simply contact us to discuss your requirements.

How do I get ISO 14001?

The process of developing an environmental management system that meets the ISO 14001 standard can take anywhere from 3 to 12 months depending on the level of maturity of the organisation. In some cases, it may be a case of introducing new governance processes or developing documentation, whereas in others, an organisation will need to start from scratch.

Getting ISO 14001 is then a process of being certified. UKAS accredited Certification Bodies are the organisations who will carry out a series of audits of the environmental management system against the ISO Standard. As a result of the audit the organisation will be awarded an ISO 14001 Certificate.

How long are audits?

The first phase of the ISO 14001 audit process is a ‘Stage 1’ Audit, which will look at the readiness of the system, and check against the required documentation.

The benefit of the Stage 1 audit is that the organisation can test out its ideas or identify gaps without risking failing. The audit will result in a report that defines the amount of work needed to be complete before the Stage 2 audit is completed.

Usually, there is a gap between the Stage 1 and Stage 2 audits of 4 weeks to 6 months, which allows the organisation to gather more data and increase its capabilities.

How much does ISO 14001 cost?

Like any product or service that an organisation buys, it is important to shop around Certification Bodies and ensure that you get a level of service you want, at a price that is acceptable.

The UKAS accredited Certification Bodies are subjected to quality standards themselves and UKAS acts as Ombudsmen, which gives you assurance that any issues will be resolved appropriately.

Typically, direct audit costs are charged on a day-rate basis and the number of days will vary according to the size of the business. Companies up to 50 people can expect initial certification costs of approximately £5k, and ongoing costs of up to 2-3k per annum.

Spedan Ltd are Associate Consultants to the major ISO Certification Bodies and can help clarify your costs before you commit to one supplier.

Read our ISO 14001 blogs

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History of ISO 14001

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