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Environment - ISO 14001 revision

Revision of the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards



Newsletter Revision Special ISO 9001 & ISO 14001

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AFNOR Certification transition guide “Key points of the 2015 versions”

“Key points of the 2015 versions”


Revision ISO 9001


The first environmental management standard, ISO 14001 is especially appreciated for its operational aspect. Adopted by more than 250,000 users certified in 155 countries, ISO 14001 is changing in 2015 to take account of changes in markets and in society’s expectations.


Improved environmental performance, integration of external interested parties, prioritizing risks, definition of issues… the new version of the standard confirms its basic principles but also explores new ways forward.



Why revise ISO 14001?

The standards are drawn up by the organizations themselves and revised on a regular basis – generally every 5 years – to ensure they are still in line with objectives. The results of an international ISO survey showed a need to update the environmental standard created in 1996 to:

  • Adapt it to the ISO High-Level Structure (HLS) so that the normative standards (ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 50001, etc.) may be integrated into a single management system.
  • Take into account the changing expectations of stakeholders and the ecosystem of organizations (economic, sociological, technical, etc.).
  • Facilitate the implementation of ISO 14001 in small organizations.
  • Control environmental impacts in value chains, supply chains, etc.



What is the timeline for the ISO 14001 revision?

The revision timeline is provided for information only. It is aligned with the steps involved in drafting an international standard . It may change based on the discussions held between the Member States participating in the work of ISO/TC 207/SC 1/WG5.

  • March 2013: first draft of ISO 14001:2015 (CD1: Committee Draft 1). This document received over 160 pages of comments.
  • October 2013: publication of CD2 after a validation period running until December 2013.
  • January to May 2014: Analysis of comments.
  • September 2014: publication of the ISO 14001 DIS (Draft International Standard) for validation until December 2014.
  • April 2015: publication of the ISO 14001 FDIS (Final Draft).
  • June 2015: publication of ISO 14001:2015.

Steps involved in drafting an international standard


ISO 14001:2004 / ISO 14001:2015 transition period

Organizations will have a 3-year period in which to migrate to ISO 14001:2015 certification. ISO 14001:2004 certificates will be valid up until the end of the transition period.


To ensure that you are fully prepared, the AFNOR Group will be assisting you throughout the upgrading of your management system: training, expert advice, assessment visit, documentation and so on.


Follow recent developments related to the ISO 14001:2015 revision


ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, a common core for greater agility

With virtually the same revision schedule, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 offer a greater number of users - SMEs and very small entities as well as large groups - the opportunity to dovetail their quality and environmental approaches. In strengthening strategic direction, giving meaning to continual improvement approaches, optimizing resources, and identifying major challenges, the “combined” approach leads to better performance. Another argument in its favour is its significant impact on economic performance of enterprises which on average report a 16% increase in turnover (study by the Organizational Performance Chair, Paris-Dauphine University).  


In their new versions, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 adopt the same so-called high level structure (HLS), with 60% of requirements being common elements, so enabling increased agility.

ISO 14001 FAQs


Is ISO 14001 complicated to implement?

The sole purpose of ISO 14001 certification is to implement and structure a flexible, cross-cutting Environmental Management System (EMS) that takes into account all environmental aspects, impacts and regulations.



The main mission of ISO 14001 is to help organizations and their employees control environmental aspects inherent in their activities, products and services. It therefore invites them to review their processes, anticipate emergency situations and verify their ability to act, react and monitor. It does requires time, but the benefits are worth the investment!


Is ISO 14001 certification effective?

This depends on the management's commitment to implementing an environmental strategy. Many studies back up these arguments: committed managers mobilize employees around environmental values and make the environment an asset for their organization.



Furthermore, one study shows (study available in French only) that the development of a certified environmental management system only leads to an increase in performance if the company incorporates environmental aspects into its strategy. Performance is limited or non-existent if certification is merely undertaken for commercial purposes.


Is ISO 14001 certification profitable?

ISO 14001 boosts the performance of organizations. Its benefits are considerable: decreased water consumption, waste recovery, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, fewer raw materials, drop in gas and fuel consumption, increased employee productivity, savings on waste fees, more efficient facilities, access to ethical funds, green funds and Socially Responsible Investments, heritage preservation, improved investment planning, and more.


Over 60% of ISO 14001 certified companies achieve investment payback within 12 months! ( According to an AFNOR Certification study ) (available in French).


ISO 14001 the only standard out there?


ISO 14001 has been designed to dovetail with other standards such as ISO 9001 ( Quality ) and OHSAS 18001 ( Safety ) - with which it forms a winning QSE trio-, not to mention ISO 26000 on social responsibility . ISO 50001 on energy management systems came into being more recently and there are many other good practices recorded in normative documents on the topics of eco-design , environmental performance , and environmental labelling .


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