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EMS questions and answers

Do you have an ISO 14001 question that may also be of interest to others? If so and you would like for an expert to provide you with some advice please email us.

What are the 'real' primary reasons for an ISO 14001 EMS ?

There are many benefits of developing an EMS which I won't repeat. However, from my own experience very few organisations are developing systems for these reasons. I'm not saying that they don't get these benefits when they develop an EMS but the 'primary' reasons for developing it are because:

A potential client(s) requires their contractors and/or suppliers to have ISO 14001 certified EMSs and so to be eligible to win the work the organisation needs an EMS; or

They are pre-empting a need for an EMS for one or more clients.

There are many organisations, typically government and mining within Australia, requesting a certified ISO 14001 EMS from their contractors and suppliers. As commonly known, ISO 14001 doesn't always guarantee legal compliance and best practice from their contractors and suppliers. These organisations, if not already doing so, should consider conducting their own audits and reviews of their contractors and suppliers.

Help, we've been informed we need an ISO 14001 EMS

Developing, implementing and maintaining an ISO 14001 EMS takes time, money and human resources. It isn't always viable to develop an EMS in this instance and sometimes it is only an administration exercise by your client with little or no benefit to them. Consider approaching them regarding this requirement as sometimes an environmental risk assessment can be developed in its place.

What is the PDCA cycle of continuous improvement?

An ISO 14001 environmental management system follows a Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. This is whereby:

PLAN = developing the policy and the environmental management system to achieve the policy requirements and meet the requirements of the standard;

DO = implementing the environmental management system;

CHECK = checking and reviewing the system for adequacy; and

ACT = continuously improving the environmental management system.

Further reading

What is an environmental management system?

How to improve existing ISO 14001 environmental management systems

Developing an effective environmental policy

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ISO 14001 environmental management system

ISO 14001 EMS

Environmental Compliance

Compliance reviews

Environmental Auditing

Environmental auditing

Environmental Management Plan

EMP development