July 26, 2018
Starting on September 15, 2018, organizations whose environmental management systems are certified to ISO 14001 must meet new requirements published in 2015. The standard had not been updated since 2004, and the much-needed changes modernize ISO 14001, bringing it up to current environmental practices.
The new standard is more compatible with other management system standards, such as ISO 9001, a standard that sets out the requirements for a quality management system, ISO 27001, a specification for an information security management system, ISO 20000, covering informational technology service management, and ISO 22301 covering business continuity management systems.
The new requirements help companies embed environmental management in core functions of its business. Take, for example, the requirement for life-cycle thinking. The new standard notes that organizations must consider and document its life-cycle perspectives when determining the environmental aspects of its business, and further that it must “establish controls, as appropriate, to ensure that its environmental requirement(s) is (are) addressed in the design and development process for the product or service, considering each life-cycle stage.” Organizations must also “consider the need to provide information about potential significant environmental impacts associated with the transportation or delivery, use, end-of-life treatment and final disposal of its products and services.”
Many firms may still be confused and concerned about how to meet these new requirements. In the two years since the standard was published, many leading brands have integrated life-cycle thinking into their product development process. Some of these same companies have also undertaken waste minimization and diversion programs, voluntary take-back programs, and more, which address the end-of-life treatment and disposal of products. According to ISO survey of certifications to ISO 14001, as of 2016 only 45,000 have migrated to the 2015 standard compared to more than 364,000 sites that received ISO 14001:2004 certificates globally.1
UL can help manufacturers and retailers meet these new requirements while also helping them get market recognition for their efforts. For instance:
- UL’s ECOLOGO® program provides product certification to standards informed by life-cycle thinking.
- UL provides certification for Environmental Product Declarations, which are product level transparency tools based on life cycle assessment.
- UL also provides waste diversion validation, which helps businesses address questions about the end-of-life treatment disposal of its products and services.
- And finally, UL’s newest Circularity Facts program pulls these factors together to provide a comprehensive message to the marketplace while helping meet these new ISO 14001 requirements.
In addition, UL’s data security services offer compliant data collection tools that can help your company shore up its EMS approach.
1 ISO survey of certifications to management system standards: https://isotc.iso.org/livelink/livelink?func=ll&objId=18808772&objAction=browse&viewType=1