ISO 14001:2015 was published 15 September 2015 and is the replacement for ISO 14001:2004. For organizations currently using ISO 14001:2004 there will be a three-year transition period to switch to ISO 14001:2015.
Understanding the organization and its context
This new concept relates to the factors and conditions affecting organizational operation e.g. regulation, governance and environmental conditions.
Environmental conditions are the elements of the environment which can be affected by the organization (air quality, water quality, land use, etc.), or those which can affect the organization (climate change, existing land contamination, etc.).
Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties
Consideration should be given to who the interested parties might be and what their relevant interests might be, e.g. employees, neighbors, customers, shareholders, board members, competitors, regulators, etc.
The needs and expectations of interested parties can become compliance obligations.
Leadership and commitment
Top management of the organization are now required to demonstrate leadership and commitment to the EMS in a number of specified ways.
ISO 14001 2004 is an environmental management standard that defines the environmental policy of an organization. This standard supports organizations to protect the environment, check pollution, and progress their overall environmental performance. ISO 14001 is a useful tool for an organization to step up from just maintaining regulatory compliance to an organization with improved productivity and improved competitive benefit.
ISO 14001:2004 identifies environmental necessities that the organization identifies as those which it can control and influence. It does not itself state exact environmental performance criteria. ISO 14001 is flexible - it is as applicable to both the small business and the multinational organization.