ISO 14001 documentation: what you need to know

ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental management, does not require many formal procedures – it is more about the results of environmental processes. However, past experience has taught us that, in order to build an environmental management system (EMS) that conforms to the requirements, a certain level of documentation is necessary. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. So that knowledge is readily available to everyone who needs to know how to do things.
  2. To provide a trail for audit purposes, be that internal or external.

If you’re not careful, there may be a tendency to ‘over-document’ the environmental processes, which leads to a bureaucratic and wasteful EMS. The aim should be to do what is necessary but not to make the system too burdensome and oppressive.

Creating your environmental management policy

The environmental management policy should be short, to the point and address all the relevant requirements of ISO 14001. The policy is your ‘portal’ to the EMS and may be shared with a wide variety of people both inside and outside your organisation. It therefore needs to be simple enough for anyone to understand yet pointed enough to let them know you mean business on an environmental front. 

What ISO 14001 documentation is required?

To manage your EMS, it is vital that key aspects are documented to preserve your organisation’s knowledge, and to provide auditability and accountability. The other key point to bear in mind is that documenting it in a published format lets all your staff and others see what is happening and even suggest better ways of doing things. You can measure yourselves against the procedure and, by comparing what you do with others, identify potential improvements in your environmental performance.

Documenting and improving the procedures represents best practice and, by comparing to others, you will truly realize a cost-effective EMS that respects and improves environmental management. 

About the ISO 14001 EMS Documentation Toolkit

ISO 14001:2015 EMS Documentation ToolkitTap into our expertise and use the practical, pre-written ISO 14001:2015 document templates in the ISO 14001 EMS Documentation Toolkit to update or implement your EMS.

Designed to speed up your EMS implementation, this toolkit’s fully-compliant and expert-written documents ensure that every part of your ISO 14001 documentation is covered.

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