ISO 14001 2015 in Plain
          English

This page presents an overview of ISO 14001 2015 and provides a PDF sample of our approach.

4. Context

4.1 Understand your organization and its particular context

•  Identify and understand your organization's external context.

•  Identify the external issues that are relevant to your organization's purpose.

•  Identify the external conditions that are relevant to your organization's purpose.

•  Identify and understand your organization's internal context.

•  Identify the internal issues that are relevant to your organization's purpose.

•  Identify the internal conditions that are relevant to your organization's purpose.

4.2 Clarify the needs and expectations of your interested parties

•  Identify the interested parties that are relevant to your organization's EMS.

•  Identify those who are interested in your environmental performance.

•  Determine the needs and expectations of your organization's interested parties.

•  Determine those that are relevant to your environmental performance.

•  Determine those that have become compliance obligations (requirements).

4.3 Define the scope of your environmental management system

•  Clarify boundaries and think about what your EMS should apply to.

•  Use boundary and applicability information to define the scope of your EMS.

•  Consider your compliance obligations when you define your scope.

•  Consider your corporate context when you define your scope.

•  Define the scope of your environmental management system (EMS).

•  Include all the products that fall within the scope (boundary) of your EMS.

•  Include all the services that fall within the scope (boundary) of your EMS.

•  Include all the activities that fall within the scope (boundary) of your EMS.

•  Document the scope of your environmental management system.

4.4 Establish and maintain an environmental management system

•  Consider your organization's context when you establish and maintain its EMS.

•  Consider your external context when you develop your organization's EMS.

•  Think about how external issues could influence your organization's EMS.

•  Think about how external interested parties could influence your EMS.

•  Consider your internal context when you develop your EMS.

•  Think about how internal issues could influence your EMS.

•  Develop an EMS in accordance with the requirements of this ISO 14001 standard.

•  Establish the processes that you need and clarify your process interactions.

•  Implement, maintain, and improve your environmental management system.

5. Leadership

5.1 Provide leadership by accepting responsibility for the EMS

•  Accept responsibility for your organization's EMS.

•  Demonstrate that you are committed to your EMS.

•  Ensure that an environmental policy is formulated.

•  Ensure that environmental objectives are established.

•  Communicate your commitment to the EMS.

•  Explain why environmental management is important.

•  Expect your managers to be accountable for their EMS.

•  Encourage your personnel to personally support their EMS.

5.2 Provide leadership by establishing an environmental policy

•  Formulate your organization's environmental policy.

•  Consider your context when you formulate your organization's policy.

•  Consider the environment when you formulate your organization's policy.

•  Consider your compliance obligations when you formulate your policy.

•  Implement your organization's environmental policy.

•  Document your organization's environmental policy.

•  Communicate your organization's environmental policy.

•  Expect your personnel to comply with your environmental policy.

5.3 Provide leadership by assigning EMS roles and responsibilities

•  Provide effective environmental leadership.

•  Assign all EMS roles, responsibilities, and authorities.

•  Communicate all EMS roles, responsibilities, and authorities.

6. Planning

6.1 Formulate actions to address your risks and opportunities

6.1.1 Develop processes and prepare plans to establish your EMS

•  Develop the processes that you need to meet EMS requirements.

•  Establish processes needed to plan and implement your EMS.

•  Implement processes needed to plan and implement your EMS.

•  Maintain processes needed to plan and implement your EMS.

•  Plan the establishment of your environmental management system.

•  Consider the scope of your environmental management system (4.3).

•  Consider how you're going to address your organization's context (4.1).

•  Consider how you're going to determine your risks and opportunities (4.1).

•  Consider how you're going to identify potential emergency situations (8.2).

•  Consider how you're going to ensure that EMS achieves intended results.

•  Establish environmental management planning documents and records.

•  Document the risks and opportunities that need to be addressed.

•  Document the processes needed to plan and manage your EMS.

•  Maintain and control your EMS planning documents and records.

6.1.2 Identify significant environmental aspects and associated impacts

•  Use risk planning process (from 6.1.1) to identify environmental aspects.

•  Identify environmental aspects that fall within the scope of your EMS.

•  Identify those environmental aspects you can influence or control.

•  Identify your organization's significant environmental aspects.

•  Establish criteria to identify significant environmental aspects.

•  Use risk planning process (from 6.1.1) to identify environmental impacts.

•  Identify the environmental impacts that fall within the scope of your EMS.

6.1.3 Study environmental aspects and identify compliance obligations

•  Use risk planning process (from 6.1.1) to identify compliance obligations.

•  Identify the compliance obligations that fall within the scope of your EMS.

•  Document your organization's particular EMS compliance obligations.

6.1.4 Address environmental aspects, obligations, risks, and opportunities

•  Plan how you're going to ensure that EMS achieves its intended outcomes.

•  Plan how you're going to address significant environmental aspects.

•  Plan how you're going to address environmental compliance obligations.

•  Plan how you're going to address environmental risks and opportunities.

•  Formulate actions to ensure that your EMS achieves its intended outcomes.

•  Carry out actions to ensure that your EMS achieves its intended outcomes.

6.2 Set environmental objectives and make plans to achieve them

6.2.1 Establish environmental objectives for all relevant areas

•  Clarify criteria for setting environmental objectives.

•  Ensure that objectives are consistent with your environmental policy.

•  Ensure that objectives are measurable (whenever this is practicable).

•  Ensure that objectives consider your options and requirements.

•  Set objectives at relevant levels and for relevant functions.

• Set objectives that address your specific risks and opportunities.

• Set objectives that address your particular compliance obligations.

•  Set objectives that address your significant environmental aspects.

6.2.2 Establish plans to achieve objectives and evaluate results

•  Establish plans to achieve your environmental objectives.

•  Develop actions to achieve your environmental objectives.

•  Figure out how to integrate actions into business processes.

•  Figure out how you're going to evaluate your results.

•  Monitor how well objectives are being achieved.

7. Support

7.1 Support your EMS by providing the necessary resources

•  Determine the resources that your environmental management system needs.

•  Provide the resources that your environmental management system needs.

7.2 Support your EMS by ensuring that people are competent

•  Clarify your organization's environmental competence requirements.

•  Identify those under your control who affect environmental performance.

•  Identify the competence requirements of the people under your
control who have an impact on your environmental performance.

•  Acquire competence whenever shortcomings are discovered.

•  Acquire the necessary competence whenever people fail to meet
your organization's environmental competence requirements.

•  Document the competence of those who affect environmental performance.

•  Retain your documentation and use it as evidence to show that people
have the competence they need to handle the environmental aspects
of activities, processes, products, services, and systems.

7.3 Support your EMS by making people aware of their duties

•  Make personnel aware of your organization's EMS.

•  Share information about your EMS with the people who
carry out work that is under your organization's control.

•  Make sure that they are aware of your environmental policy.

•  Make sure that they are aware of your environmental objectives.

•  Make sure that they are aware of your environmental aspects.

•  Make sure that they are aware of your environmental impacts.

7.4 Support your EMS by controlling your communications

7.4.1 Support your EMS by creating a communications processes

•  Plan how you're going to manage EMS communications.

•  Establish processes to manage your EMS communications.

•  Figure out how internal communications will be handled.

•  Figure out how external communications will be handled.

•  Implement your organization's EMS communications processes.

7.4.2 Support your EMS by facilitating internal communications

•  Establish EMS communications within and throughout your organization.

•  Discuss your EMS with people at all organizational levels and functions.

•  Enable anyone under your control to contribute to continual improvement.

7.4.3 Support your EMS by establishing external communications

•  Establish communications between your organization and external parties.

•  Use your communications process to control external communications.

7.5 Support your EMS by managing documented information

7.5.1 Support your EMS by using all necessary EMS documents

•  Figure out how extensive documented EMS information should be.

•  Consider your activities when you establish documents and records.

•  Consider your personnel when you establish documents and records.

•  Consider your obligations when you establish documents and records.

•  Consider your processes when you establish documents and records.

•  Consider your products when you establish documents and records.

•  Consider your services when you establish documents and records.

•  Consider your size when you establish documents and records.

•  Select all the documents and records that your EMS needs.

•  Select all the internal documents and records that EMS needs.

•  Select all the external documents and records that EMS needs.

7.5.2 Support your EMS by managing the use of EMS documents

•  Manage your organization's documented EMS information.

•  Make sure that your organization’s EMS documents
and records are properly identified and described.

•  Make sure that your organization’s EMS documents
and records are properly formatted and presented.

•  Make sure that your organization’s EMS documents
and records are properly reviewed and approved.

7.5.3 Support your EMS by controlling the use of EMS documents

•  Select all of the EMS documents and records that you need.

•  Figure out how your EMS documents should be controlled.

•  Think about how EMS documents and records are created.

•  Think about how EMS documents and records are identified.

•  Think about how EMS documents and records are distributed.

•  Think about how EMS documents and records are stored.

•  Think about how EMS documents and records are retrieved.

•  Think about how EMS documents and records are accessed.

•  Think about how EMS documents and records are used.

•  Think about how EMS documents and records are protected.

•  Think about how EMS documents and records are changed.

•  Think about how EMS documents and records are preserved.

•  Control all the EMS documents and records that you need.

•  Control all the internal documents and records that your EMS needs.

•  Control all the external documents and records that your EMS needs.

8. Operations

8.1 Establish your EMS processes and control how they operate

•  Determine the environmental requirements that processes must meet.

•  Specify environmental requirements for procurement process (as appropriate).

•  Clarify environmental requirements for your product and service purchases.

•  Specify environmental requirements for your design process (as appropriate).

•  Establish controls to ensure that environmental requirements are considered.

•  Plan the implementation of your organization's EMS processes.

•  Clarify the operating criteria that your EMS processes must meet.

•  Develop controls for your environmental management processes.

•  Consider using personnel to control your organization's processes.

•  Consider using procedures to control your organization's processes.

•  Consider using technologies to control your organization's processes.

•  Consider using methodologies to control your organization's processes.

•  Implement and control your organization's EMS processes.

•  Use documents to show that EMS processes were implemented.

8.2 Establish your emergency preparedness and response processes

•  Establish emergency preparedness and response processes.

•  Establish processes to prepare for potential emergency situations.

•  Establish processes to respond to potential emergency situations.

•  Maintain emergency preparedness and response processes.

•  Provide emergency preparedness and response training and information.

•  Document emergency preparedness and response processes and activities.

•  Review emergency preparedness and response processes and actions.

9. Evaluation

9.1 Determine your environmental performance and compliance

9.1.1 Investigate your organization’s environmental performance

•  Plan how you're going to investigate your environmental performance.

•  Plan how you're going to monitor your environmental performance. 

•  Plan how you're going to measure your environmental performance. 

•  Plan how you're going to analyze your environmental performance. 

•  Plan how you're going to evaluate your environmental performance. 

•  Investigate your organization's environmental performance.

•  Monitor your organization's environmental performance. 

•  Measure your organization's environmental performance. 

•  Analyze your organization's environmental performance. 

•  Evaluate your organization's environmental performance. 

•  Communicate your organization's environmental performance.

9.1.2 Evaluate your organization’s environmental compliance

•  Plan how you're going to find out if compliance obligations are being met.

•  Figure out how often environmental compliance should be evaluated. 

•  Establish suitable environmental compliance evaluation processes.

•  Implement suitable environmental compliance evaluation processes. 

•  Maintain suitable environmental compliance evaluation processes. 

•  Take action to resolve environmental compliance shortcomings.

9.2 Audit your organization’s environmental management system

9.2.1 Conduct EMS conformance audits and document your results

•  Conduct internal EMS conformance audits at planned intervals.

•  Determine if your organization's EMS meets requirements. 

•  See if your EMS meets your organization's own requirements.

•  See if your EMS meets the requirements of this ISO standard.

•  Examine the effectiveness of your organization's EMS.

9.2.2 Establish internal audit methods, schedules, and requirements

•  Plan the development of your internal audit program.

•  Develop a program that can find out if EMS meets requirements. 

•  Develop a program that can determine if EMS is effective. 

•  Establish your internal audit program.

•  Establish internal audit responsibilities. 

•  Establish internal audit planning requirements. 

•  Establish internal audit reporting requirements. 

•  Establish internal audit schedules.

•  Establish internal audit methods. 

•  Implement your internal audit program.

•  Define the scope for each internal audit. 

•  Specify audit criteria for each internal audit. 

•  Select impartial and objective internal auditors. 

•  Carry out internal audits at planned intervals. 

•  Report internal audit results to management.

9.3 Review your organization’s environmental management system

•  Review your organization's EMS at regular intervals.

•  Review EMS suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness.

•  Review the status of your previous management reviews.

•  Review how well environmental objectives are being achieved.

•  Review relevant communications from interested parties.

•  Review environmental performance (including trends).

•  Review changes in aspects, obligations, issues, and risks.

•  Review potential continual improvement opportunities.

•  Review the strategic direction that your EMS is taking.

•  Review your EMS resource needs and requirements.

•  Generate appropriate management review outputs.

•  Draw conclusions about your organization's EMS.

•  Make decisions about your organization's EMS.

•  Define actions to improve environmental performance.

•  Consider implications for your overall strategic direction.

•  Document the results of your management reviews.

10. Improvement

10.1 Take action to improve your EMS and achieve intended outcomes

•  Determine opportunities to improve EMS and achieve its intended outcomes.

•  Take all necessary actions to improve EMS and achieve its intended outcomes.

•  Use performance evaluation outputs to improve your organization's EMS.

•  Use compliance evaluation outputs to improve your organization's EMS.

•  Use management review outputs to improve your organization's EMS.

•  Use internal audit outputs to improve your organization's EMS.

10.2 Control nonconformities and take appropriate corrective action

•  React to your organization's nonconformities.

•  Take action to control nonconformities.

•  Deal with all relevant consequences.

•  Evaluate the need to eliminate causes.

•  Review nonconformity and identify causes.

•  Determine if similar nonconformities exist.

•  Decide if corrective action should be taken.

•  Develop corrective actions to address causes.

•  Implement corrective actions to address causes.

•  Review the effectiveness of your corrective actions.

•  Document your nonconformities, actions, and results.

10.3 Enhance the suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness of your EMS

•  Enhance your organization's environmental performance.

•  Continually improve the performance of your EMS.

•  Continually improve the suitability of your EMS.

•  Continually improve the adequacy of your EMS.

•  Continually improve the effectiveness of your EMS.

Also see the new ISO 9001 2015 and ISO 13485 2016 standards (in Plain English).

 
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MORE ISO 14001 2015 PAGES

Introduction to ISO 14001 2015

Outline of ISO 14001 2015 Standard

Overview of ISO 14001 2015 Standard

ISO 14001 2015 versus ISO 14001 2004

ISO 14001 2015 Internal Audit Program

Plain English ISO 14001 2015 Definitions

Environmental Management Gap Analysis Tool

Skills and Knowledge EMS Auditors Should Have

Plain English Environmental Management Checklist


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 Updated August 2, 2016. First published on January 11, 2015.

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