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Updated ISO 14004 provides guidance for credible environmental management systems

April 4th, 2016 by Dakota Software Staff Industry News

Updated ISO 14004 provides guidance for credible environmental management systems

The release of the updated ISO 14001 standard in late 2015 helped modernize the International Organization for Standardization's rules for developing an environmental management systems. Specifically, the ISO incorporated modern trends and perspectives related to environmental impacts. The changes and additions included, but weren't limited to, more focus on the supply chain and its impacts on the environment, a higher degree of interaction with stakeholders, an emphasis on product life cycle management and more proactive measures to minimize and prevent negative outcomes.

In addition to these major changes made to ISO 14001, the standards organization also updated ISO 14004. This update centers around helping organizations craft the best EMS possible and provides specific guidelines for implementation.

ISO 14004:2016 calls for more involvement, participation
Business Green said ISO 14004:2016 was specifically developed to reduce the burden of implementing the more comprehensive and wide-ranging ISO 14001:2015 update. Companies that want to create an EMS fully in line with the rules of ISO 14001:2015 can look to ISO 14004:2016 to aid in initial development and subsequent refinement efforts. The British Standards Institution, which helped codify both new ISO standards related to EMS, said providing more thorough information about vital concepts related to ISO 14004:2016 is one of the major focuses of the update in a statement shared with Business Green.

"The revision incorporates changes made to ISO 14001 including more detailed explanation of key concepts such as context, leadership, risks and opportunities and life cycle thinking," BSI said in the statement. "Because ISO 14004 provides detailed guidance, it can provide particular support to those who might have less resources or feel uncertain about how to begin to create an EMS."

,Many of the specific changes included in ISO 14004:2016 were developed to empower businesses to take a more open view of environmental compliance and management, broadening horizons and avoiding too much focus on certain discrete elements of EMS instead of the complete picture.

Compliance with the new standard is a concern for many businesses. While the ISO's standards are generally clear and straightforward, ensuring proper implementation across a company while accounting for the unique factors that make every organization different can be a difficult process. Using the right environmental management software helps businesses ensure a consistent and high level of compliance and sets the stage for a successful adoption of ISO 14004:2016 in advance of the compliance deadline set for late 2018.

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