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The New ISO14001:2015
The Conversion Deadline Is Almost Here
Time is running out for organizations looking to recertify their ISO 14001 environmental management system (EMS). The deadline for recertification is September 15, 2018. After that certificates issued under the ISO 14001:2004 Standard will no longer be valid. In fact, most certifiers have already stopped issuing certificates to the ISO14001:2004 Standard.
The changes in ISO 14001:2015 are extensive and implementation of a redesigned EMS will take time. Reviewing some examples of the thematic differences between the two standards highlights the need for a well thought out and timely strategy.
These thematic differences point toward fundamental rethinking of both EMS design and function. Change of that magnitude requires time and a strategy.
The project lifecycle for a well-crafted EMS can require up to a year from design to full implementation. Not all of this time is spent developing and writing procedures and work instructions. In fact, a majority of the time should be spent implementing the EMS, testing the procedures and developing proof that the EMS is functioning and will be able to fulfill its strategic purpose. In addition, under the new ISO 14001:2015 requirements, the organization needs to formulate an approach for including its interested parties and stakeholders (e.g., suppliers) in its contextual analysis (e.g., how, where and with whom does it operate) and in its life cycle thinking. Such strategic thinking will obviously be impaired by tight deadlines.
While it’s not too late to start with an ISO 14001:2015 installation, there should be little delay. Organizations should develop their ISO 14001:2015 strategy now; including a gap analysis to establish a level of effort and project schedule. Due to the timing, the strategy should focus on implementing the EMS to address the greatest “gaps” and developing the “hard proof” of its effectiveness.
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