What is ISO 14001 certification?

ISO 14001 is a globally recognised standard that outlines the specifications for an environmental management system.

ISO 14001 certification is suitable for any business, regardless of its activity or sector, it can provide assurance to company management and employees as well as external stakeholders that environmental impact is being monitored, reviewed and improved.

This popular ISO certification supports organisations in improving their environmental performance, giving them a competitive advantage and the confidence of stakeholders.

Businesses are increasingly looking for effective environmental management systems because they are one of the most effective ways to reduce an organisation’s environmental impact.

What is environmental management?

Regardless of the sector you are in, managing the environmental effect of your company should be a top focus. A framework for changing procedures and policies to enhance your environmental performance is an environmental management system. Achieving ISO 14001 certification can give you more cost control and other competitive advantages.

There are numerous methods to go about creating a general environmental management system but becoming ISO 14001 certified is the best option. The ISO 14001 certification gives you credentials that you can use to expand your company in a way that is both environmentally and financially viable.

We have supported a wide range of businesses across various industries and sectors to gain ISO 14001 certification. Our proven process includes developing a bespoke management system that is completely unique to your business with a range of processes, procedures and templates.

ISO 14001 principles

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) is a global organisation that develops and disseminates standards that are recognised all over the world. ISO issued the ISO 14001 standard. The most recent edition of the environmental management system specifications, known as “ISO 14001:2015,” was released in 2015. Before being published and updated, the standard was approved by member nations; as a result, it has gained international recognition.

The number of businesses that have implemented an ISO 14001 environmental management system worldwide indicates a consistent trend.

ISO 14001 is designed to support organisations in identifying, managing, overseeing, and controlling their environmental performance holistically. Risk assessments are conducted then, precautions taken and methods implemented to help control these risks. We can support businesses in carrying out those risk assessments and identifying any environmental risks that may be applicable.

What is ISO 14001 certification

Implementing 14001 certification

There are ten sections in the ISO 14001 structure. The first three are introductory, and the final seven constitute the environmental management system’s requirements. The seven major sections cover the following topics:

Clause 4

Organisational Context – To deploy an environmental management system, you must first understand your organisation and its risk and opportunities with regards to environmental impact.

Identify interested parties and their expectations, and internal and external difficulties.

As part of our clause 4 review we offer support; developing a SWOT, PESTLER and Stakeholder analysis ahead of client audits.

Clause 5

Management – The top management must play a key role in the environmental management system’s implementation, which is covered by the leadership requirements. Senior management must ensure environmental commitment, define and communicate the environmental policy, and show a commitment to the environmental management system.

Clause 6

Planning – The top management must plan for the environmental management system’s continued operation. The organisation’s environmental management system must be evaluated for risks and opportunities, and environmental goals for improvement must be determined. Then, strategies must be developed to achieve these goals.

In addition, the company must evaluate the interactions and effects of its processes on the environment, including the obligations it has under the law.

Clause 7

Support – The administration of all environmental management system resources is covered in the support area, along with standards for competence, awareness, communication, and controlling recorded information (the documents and records required for your processes).

Clause 8

Operation – The operation requirements cover every component of environmental controls required by organisational processes, as well as the obligation to recognise potential emergency circumstances and plan responses so that you are ready to act should an emergency occur.

Clause 9

Performance evaluation – This section contains the specifications required to ensure that you can assess the efficiency of your environmental management system. Internal audits, environmental compliance evaluations, process monitoring and measurement, and continuing management reviews of the environmental management system are all included.

As part of our ongoing support Compliant offers support with internal audits and preparing documents to adhere to standard clauses.

Clause 10

Development The requirements needed to improve your environmental management system over time are included in this final section. This calls for evaluating process nonconformity and implementing process corrections.

Compliant offers templates for all of the sections highlighted above and works with clients to develop those templates; making them bespoke to every business.

These sections follow a Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle that employs these components to introduce change into the organisation’s processes in order to sustain improvements

Integrating ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certification

Incorporating standards for management systems can sharpen focus across any organisation and enhance operational performance. Implementing an integrated management system is a great option for businesses looking to get started with more than one standard. With comparable ISO 14001 elements, ISO 9001 components can be improved.

The following activities can be carried out together when implementing combined standards:

  • creating a policy statement with specific goals
  • creating policies and procedures that align to more than 1 standard
  • creating job descriptions and organisational charts
  • supplying sufficient resources
  • utilising a single document control system (document log) to manage documentation for both standards
  • appointing coordinators for the management systems as well as a management representative

Planning must be expanded to address environmental consequences, and the inspection and test procedures must be updated to address environmental conformity when adding ISO 14001 components to those of ISO 9001.

When getting started with ISO 14001 certification businesses must implement environmental management principles and satisfy customer and governmental environmental requirements.

Other standards, such as ISO 45001, ISO 27001 and ISO 13485, can be integrated with ISO 14001 to offer synergy with those systems. Compliant offer a range of integrated management system options and can pass preferential rates from certification bodies into clients.

Exploring ISO 14001 certification

ISO 14001 certification; Why implement ISO 14001?

ISO 14001 certification is a great standard to have if you want to show that you and your company are dedicated to lessening the environmental effect of your operations. By having ISO 14001 certification in place your business can reap the resulting financial and stakeholder benefits. We have helped a range of businesses to become ISO 14001 certified in various industries, including RLSS, Ardmore Craig, Plastiserve and Applications Assist. Check out our case studies for our reviews.

Achieving ISO 14001 certification has advantages for almost all businesses. The certification provides a clear framework for implementing pertinent sustainable practices while being broad enough to help enterprises in any industry or sector.

What benefits will ISO 14001 certification bring to my business?

An organisation should adopt a strategic strategy to enhance its environmental performance for a variety of reasons. According to users of the standard, ISO 14001 supports with;

  • demonstrating compliance with current and future statutory and regulatory requirements
  • encouraging better environmental practices
  • increasing leadership involvement and employee engagement
  • improving company reputation and stakeholders’ confidence
  • providing a competitive and financial advantage through improved efficiencies and reduced costs.

What are the actual procedures for obtaining ISO 14001 certification?

There are two different kinds of certification: certification of an organisation’s environmental management system against the standards of ISO 14001 and certification of personnel to enable them to audit against those requirements. We are exploring the procedures for setting up and obtaining certification for an ISO 14001 environmental management system in a business.

Implementing an environmental management system based on ISO 14001 and then engaging a recognised certification body to audit and approve your environmental management system as satisfying the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard are required for ISO 14001 certification for your business.

You must begin by outlining your management support strategy and determining the legal requirements for your environmental management system – all of which Compliant can support with.

The overall scope and implementation of the environmental management system are defined by environmental policy, environmental factors, and environmental objectives and targets. You will also need to develop the mandatory and optional processes and procedures required for the operations of your firm. There are a few required processes that must be included, and additional ones will be added when the business deems them necessary.

Your business can create these records and documents internally, or you can receive assistance by engaging Compliant to carry out a GAP analysis and supply templates where needed.

You will need to run the environmental management system for a while after all the processes and procedures are in place; compiling the records required to proceed to audit.

For more information on implementing an environmental management system explore an earlier article of ours here.

Environmental performance is enhanced by ISO 14001

ISO 14001 offers advice on how to consider a variety of business operations, including product creation, manufacturing, storage, and distribution from an environmental perspective. It also motivates you to assess how you handle emergency response, client expectations, stakeholders, and your connections to your surrounding community.

Depending on how your organisation now functions, this can just entail recording what and how you do, or it might entail several adjustments that could lead to more efficient operations, lower cost or waste reductions, and stakeholder peace of mind.

Whether you’re creating an environmental management system or formalising one, ISO 14001 certification can provide legal compliance and a framework to guide the process.

Why our clients have invested in ISO 14001 certification

As previously mentioned we have supported a wide range of clients in becoming ISO 14001 certified. Some of the reasons our clients have invested in ISO 14001 include:

1.    Competitive advantage

It will be difficult for your competitors to match your ISO 14001 certification, no matter how much proof they cite in support of their efforts to reduce their environmental effects and increase their sustainability.

ISO 14001 has a well-known reputation in the field of environmental management on a global scale, it is especially credible when applying for public sector or tendered work. By demonstrating that you take environmental operations seriously, ISO 14001 gives you an edge over your rivals.

2.     Enhances your public image

ISO 14001 certification is provided by a third party that your business is conducting itself responsibly and sustainably. This can comfort your clients that their business is supporting a company that is contributing to environmental protection.

3.    Lowers operational costs

Wasteful working practices can be found by reviewing your company’s operations, tools, and procedures. A contribution in the reduction of waste materials, time, energy, and effort may be showcased by investments in new equipment, product redesign, process adjustments, and staff training.

Cost savings and environmental advantages can both result from better supporting the environment. Savings from one area could be used to fund the purchase of more advanced technology, such as better boilers, renewable energy programmes, and insulation, to generate further savings in another area.

How long does it take to get ISO 14001 certified?

Depending on business complexity, implementing ISO 14001 certification might take a company a few months to over a year. Internal audits, the creation and implementation of new procedures, and consideration of the entire company are all part of the process. Employees that are implementing new procedures require tools and training to do it effectively. Everything will take some time, especially if the business has extensive operational procedures.

The amount of time required will depend on how far a current environmental management system differs from ISO 14001. This gives an excellent idea of the project’s size and consequent complexity. A thorough GAP analysis provided by Compliant helps accelerate the process by enabling businesses to focus on areas for improvement.

The resources provided to the project are another factor to take into account as they may affect how quickly it is completed. With the aid of an experienced ISO certification consultant such as Compliant the process time and costs can be kept to a minimum.

The ISO 14001 certification process with Compliant

We recommend that businesses carry out the following actions with us to guarantee a successful certification after finalising all of your paperwork and putting it into practice.

  1. Internal audit – Carry out internal audits to examine your environmental management system procedures. The objective is to make certain that records are in place in order to certify that the processes are being followed and to identify issues and flaws that could otherwise go unnoticed. We supply support with internal audits to help clients become external audit ready.
  2. Management review – Carry out a formal assessment of the management system procedures by your management to determine the pertinent facts, make suitable decisions, and allocate resources.
  3. Corrective actions – After the internal audit and management review, you must address the underlying causes of any issues that were found and record your process for doing so.

The certification procedure for businesses is broken into two phases:

Stage 1: The auditors from your chosen certification body will verify that your documentation satisfies ISO 14001 requirements during your Stage 1 audit (documentation review).


Stage 2: Here, the certification body auditors will examine paperwork, records, and business procedures to see if your real operations are in compliance with both ISO 14001 and your own documentation.

Compliant supports businesses through Stage 1, Stage 2 and Surveillance audits; making sure all of the correct documentation is in place.

Getting started with Compliant

If you are wanting to get started with ISO 14001 but want more details please email our team – we are on hand to answer any questions. We also have an article ‘ISO 14001 certification cost’ which you might find useful to find out more about the costs involved with becoming ISO 14001 certified.

An environmental management system is designed to support organisations in identifying, managing, overseeing, and controlling their environmental performance holistically. 

Compliant will go the extra step in an initial teams meeting to fully understand your business, its requirements, the structure of the management system required, and the organisational context. We will then submit all your information to one of our preferred certification body partners.


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