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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

A Detailed Look at ISO 14001:2015 Part 2: Context & Leadership


4.1 Understanding the organisation and its context

Details the requirements that the organisation must determine external and internal issues that are relevant to its purpose and that affect its ability to achieve the intended outcomes of its environmental management system. Such issues include environmental conditions being affected by or capable of affecting the organisation.

Organisations are expected to measure results against the organisation’s environmental policy, environmental objectives or other criteria using indicators.

As in most management systems ISO14001 provides a structured process for the achievement of continual improvement.  The rate and extent of this continual improvement is determined by the organisation, taking economic and other circumstances into consideration.

This environmental standard can be implemented in the entire organisation, or to specific operating units or activities of the organisation.

Integration of environmental matters with the overall management system can contribute to the effective implementation of the environmental management system, as well as to the efficiency and to clarity of roles.

4.2 Understanding the needs and expectation of interested parties

Details the requirements that the organisation must determine:

  • The interested parties that are relevant to the environmental management system;
  • The relevant needs and expectations of these interested parties;
  • Which of these needs and expectations become its compliance obligations?

4.3 Determining the scope of the environmental management system

Details the requirement for the boundaries and applicability of the environmental management system to establish its scope.

When determining this scope, the organisation must consider:

  • External and internal issues referenced in 4.1;
  • Compliance issues referenced in 4.2;
  • Its organisational unit(s) function(s) and physical boundaries;
  • Its activities, products and services;
  • Its authority and ability to exercise control and influence.

Once produced as documented information it must be available to interested parties.

4.4 Environmental management system

Details the requirement to establish, implement, maintain and continually improve an environmental management system, including the processes needed and their interactions, in accordance with ISO 14001: 2015.


5.1 Leadership and commitment

Details of the requirement that top management must demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to the environmental management system by:

  • Taking accountability for the effectiveness of the environmental management system;
  • Ensuring that the environmental policy and environmental objectives are established and are compatible with the strategic direction and context of the organisation;
  • Ensuring the integration of the environmental management system requirements into the organisation’s business processes;
  • Ensuring that the resources needed for the environmental management system are available;
  • Communicating the importance of effective environmental management and of conforming to the environmental management system requirements;
  • Ensuring that the environmental management system achieves its intended outcomes;
  • Directing and supporting persons to contribute to the effectiveness of the environmental management system;
  • Promoting continual improvement;
  • Supporting other relevant management roles to demonstrate their leadership as it applies to their areas of responsibility.

5.2 Environmental Policy

Details of the requirement to establish, implement and maintain an environmental policy, that within the defined scope of its environment management system:

  • Is appropriate to the purpose and context of the organisation, including the nature, scale and environmental impacts of its activities, products and services;
  • Provides a framework for setting environmental objectives;
  • Includes a commitment for the protection of the environment, including the prevention of pollution and other specific commitments relevant to the context of the organisation;
  • Includes a commitment to fulfil its compliance obligations;
  • Includes a commitment to continual improvement of the environmental management system to enhance environmental performance.

The environmental policy must:

  • Be maintained as documented information;
  • Be communicated within the organisation;
  • Be available to interested parties.

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