The ISO 14000 family addresses various aspects of environmental management. It provides practical tools for companies and organizations looking to identify and control their environmental impact and constantly improve their environmental performance. ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 14004:2004 focus on environmental management systems. The other standards in the family focus on specific environmental aspects such as life cycle analysis, communication and auditing.
ISO 14001:2004 sets out the criteria for an environmental management system and can be certified to. It does not state requirements for environmental performance, but maps out a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective environmental management system. It can be used by any organization regardless of its activity or sector. Using ISO 14001:2004 can provide assurance to company management and employees as well as external stakeholders that environmental impact is being measured and improved.
The benefits of using ISO 14001:2004 can include:
Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) also benefit from ISO 14001:2004. However, implementing an environmental management system in SMEs can be challenging. The publication ISO 14001, Environmental Management Systems – An easy to use checklist for small business, will help SMEs to achieve the benefits of implementing an environmental management system based on ISO 14001.