1. What is ISO 14000?
ISO stands for the International Standards Organization, located in Geneva, Switzerland. ISO is a non-governmental organization established in 1947. The organization mainly functions to develop voluntary technical standards that aim at making the development, manufacture and supply of goods and services more efficient, safe and clean.
ISO 14000 refers to a family of voluntary standards and guidance documents to help organizations address environmental issues. Included in the family are standards for Environmental Management Systems, environmental and EMS auditing, environmental labelling, performance evaluation and life-cycle assessment.
In September 1996, the International Organization of Standardization published the first edition of ISO 14001, the Environmental Management Systems standard. This is an international voluntary standard describing specific requirements for an EMS. ISO 14001 is a specification standard to which an organization may receive certification or registration. ISO 14001 is considered the foundation document of the entire series. A second edition of ISO 14001 was published in 2004, updating the standard.
2. How are these standards developed?
All the ISO standards are developed through a voluntary, consensus-based approach. ISO has different member countries across the globe. Each member country develops its position on the standards and these positions are then negotiated with other member countries. Draft versions of the standards are sent out for formal written comment and each country casts its official vote on the drafts at the appropriate stage of the process. Within each country, various types of organizations can and do participate in the process. These organizations include industry, government (federal and state), and other interested parties, like various non-government organizations.
3. What are the Seventeen Elements of 14001?
- Environmental Policy – develop a statement of the organizationâ€™s commitment to the environment.
- Environmental Aspects and Impacts – identify environmental attributes of products, activities and services and their effects on the environment
- Legal and Other Requirements – identify and ensure access to relevant laws and regulations
- Objectives and Targets and Environmental Management Program – set environmental goals for the organization and plan actions to achieve objectives and targets
- Structure and Responsibility – establish roles and responsibilities within the organization
- Training, Awareness and Competence – ensure that employees are aware and capable of their environmental responsibilities
- Communication – develop processes for internal and external communication on environmental management issues
- EMS Documentation – maintain information about the EMS and related documents
- Document Control – ensure effective management of procedures and other documents
- Operational Control – identify, plan and manage the organizationâ€™s operations and activities in line with the policy, objectives and targets, and significant aspects
- Emergency Preparedness and Response – develop procedures for preventing and responding to potential emergencies
- Monitoring and Measuring – monitor key activities and track performance including periodic compliance evaluation
- Evaluation of Compliance – develop procedure to periodically evaluate compliance with legal and other requirements
- Non-conformance and Corrective and Preventive Action – identify and correct problems and prevent recurrences
- Records – keep adequate records of EMS performance
- EMS Audit – periodically verify that the EMS is effective and achieving objectives and targets
- Management Review – review the EMS
4. What is the definition of Environmental Management System?
Serves as a tool to improve environmental performance Provides a systematic way of managing an organizationâ€™s environmental affairs Is the aspect of the organizationâ€™s overall management structure that addresses immediate and long-term impacts of its products, services and processes on the environment
Gives order and consistency for organizations to address environmental concerns through the allocation of resources, assignment of responsibility and ongoing evaluation of practices, procedures and processes
Focuses on continual improvement of the system.
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