Following a full assessment, on January 4, 2005, GE BE Pvt. Ltd. / GE Medical Pvt. Ltd. became UL's first customer locations to be registered to ISO 14001:2004. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) issued the revised Environmental Management System (EMS) standard on November 15, 2004. This follows the first edition of ISO 14001 that was issued in 1996 and has grown in popularity over the last few years with in excess of 70,000 certificates having been issued over the world to date.
It is a normal process for standards to be reviewed and revised periodically basing on user needs and market feedback. In terms of structure and content, the changes, in this case, are not as dramatic as those made in 2000. This is evident from the introductory paragraph of the revised standard that states: "The second edition of this International Standard is focused on clarification of the first edition, and has taken due consideration of the provisions of ISO 9001 to enhance the compatibility of the two standards for the benefit of the user community."
2. Overview of the Changes
An overview of the main changes that have occurred in the new version are listed in Table 1 to help organizations understand and implement the same.
2.1 Compatibility with ISO 9001:2000
With an increasing number of organizations implementing an Integrated Management System, the revision has made efforts to use a common terminology, format and structure with that of ISO 9001. Specifically, the following elements have been revised for compatibility.
• Document Control
• Nonconformity, Corrective Action & Preventive Action
• Internal Audit
• Management Review
2.2 Increased Emphasis on Compliance
The scope of compliance evaluation has been expanded by inclusion of additional requirements. It now requires evaluation of compliance not only with legal, but also with "other" requirements and to maintain records of the same. This may have significant impact since the organization may now have to consider other requirements such as the European Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive, the European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements.
2.3 Reinforces the Role of Environmental Aspects as a Foundation for EMS
Instead of "identifying aspects of its activities, products or services", an organization now has to identify aspect of its "activities, products and services". Further, information about the identification needs to be documented, not just a list of significant aspects. Also, the organization is now expected to identify the environmental aspects of its activities, products and services within the defined scope of the EMS that it "can control and those it can influence". This would necessitate the need for a comprehensive scope, aspect analysis, avoiding arbitrary exclusions and also consideration of impact of the organization's supply chain, transportation and product use/disposal.
Table 1 gives a quick reference of the differences between ISO 14001:1996 and 2004 editions. A detailed review of the standard is recommended for a more comprehensive understanding of the changes.
Table 1: Significant changes in the new version of ISO 14001