As most of you have probably heard, ISO 14001 has an updated version due out in late 2015. So after 11 years of getting used to the present requirements, it’s all about to change. ISO 14001’s major revision will reflect what is called the “High Level Structure” based on ISO’s Annex SL. If you don’t understand it, don’t worry as it will all be explained soon! What you can expect to see is a different layout, as well as more clauses and requirements.

A Shift in Emphasis
So what does this revision mean to manufacturers? Basically, this new approach will increase emphasis on top management leadership. Top management will be expected to play a larger role in ensuring the organization’s environmental performance is integrated into the business operation. The expectation is that the Environmental Management System (EMS) will be taken much more seriously.

Some of the changes you are likely to experience:

  • A Greater Risk-Based Approach
  • A Required Commitment to Protecting the Environment, Not Just Preventing Pollution
  • Tangible Evidence of Improving the Environment Will Be Required
  • Greater Emphasis On the Life-Cycle Of Your Products

Starting the Transition Process
To prepare employees, it may be useful to start communicating internally that a revision to ISO 14001 is coming in 2015. You should start to look at your processes to see if they are in line with the new high level structure; but take note that your system must remain compliant with the requirements of ISO 14001:2004 until the new standard has been released.

The Life Span of ISO 14001:2004 
ISO 14001:2004 will continue to be recognized and audited until the end of the three year transition period (expected end of 2018).

The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center is already gearing up to ensure you have as smooth of a transition as possible to ISO 14001:2015. Keep watching for more information and upcoming MMTC events focused on ISO 14001. For additional information, call 888.414.6682, email, or submit an online request here.

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Categories: environment, Quality Management