GUIDE TO HASSLE FREE TRANSITION: ISO 14001:2004 TO ISO 14001:2015
The new version of ISO 14001 has been published, and organizations which are previously certified to ISO 14001:2004 will have to implement new requirements based on ISO 14001:2015. The standard follows Annex SL high level structure, identical core texts and terminologies.
Certified firms have up to September 2018 to transit their systems. However, stated below are some steps that you may take to fully conform to new requirements and record a successful transition audit.
STEPS TO HASSLE FREE TRANSITION
These, in my opinion, are the steps to be taken, and their order, for a successful transition to the 2015 version of the ISO 14001 Standard:
1) Define context of the organization: This is a new requirement, and it should be thoroughly considered because it represents the foundation of your new EMS (Environmental Management System).
2) List all interested parties: You should list all your stakeholders (the persons and companies that can influence your EMS or can be influenced by it), and their requirements. If you already listed all the statutory, regulatory, and contractual requirements according to the old clause 4.3.2, then you have already done half of your job.
3) Review the scope of the EMS: The credibility of your EMS depends on the choice of organizational boundaries. The transition is a great opportunity to reconsider the scope of your system and to define its boundaries more precisely.
4) Review the Environmental Policy: The requirements regarding the policy are still the same, although there is now a greater emphasis on incorporation of the EMS into the strategic direction of the company.
5) Align EMS objectives with the company’s strategy: The 2015 version requires you to determine whether the environmental objectives are compatible with the strategic direction of the company.
6) Assess risks and opportunities: This is a new requirement, and it refers to the risks and opportunities related to the EMS. It concerns not only environmental aspects, but also other parts of the system such as context of the organization and compliance obligations. After the assessment of risks and opportunities, there should also be some plans for addressing them.
7) Identify and evaluate environmental aspects: The transition is a great chance to re- evaluate your environmental aspects. The new version also requires you to consider foreseeable emergency situations and a lifecycle perspective of your products and services during the identification and evaluation of environmental aspects.
8) Determine the compliance obligations: A requirement for complying with statutory and regulatory requirements existed in the previous version, but now there are also interested parties and their needs and expectations to be observed as compliance obligations.
9) Control documented information: Documented information is the new term, and it refers to both procedures and records. You are required to align your old procedures with the new clause numbers, you should also consider improving your existing documentation. The requirements for preventive actions do not exist anymore (preventive actions has been added to the risk assessment process).
10) Operational control: The new version requires better control of the processes, including operating criteria and implementing controls of processes according to the criteria.
11) Environmental performance: There is now a greater emphasis on establishing environmental performance measuring and monitoring. If done properly, this will give you a total picture of your system and shows you what needs to be improved.
12) Measurement and reporting: Requirements became stricter in the 2015 version, with regards to environmental performance, but also the internal audit and the management review need to be aligned with the new version of the standard. The changes in this requirements are related to the input elements of the management review and requirements to be audited during the internal audit.
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