ISO 14001 FAQs

The ISO FAQ page is designed to answer the most common questions associated with our ISO 14001 certification services. Information includes introductions to the standards, the benefits of being certified and the implementation process.

What is ISO 14001?

ISO 14001:2004 is the latest edition of the ISO 14001 standard. ISO 14001 is the standard organisations can be assessed against under the ISO 1400 environmental management family. The standard is generic and can be applied to any organisation. All ISO standards (currently more than 17,000) are periodically reviewed to ensure they remain up-to-date and relevant. Decisions are made to confirm, withdraw or revise standards on an ongoing basis.

ISO 14001 is often seen as the corner-stone standard of the ISO 14000 series. It specifies a framework of control for an Environmental Management System and is the only ISO 14000 standard against which it is currently possible to be certified by an external certification body. However, it does not in itself state specific environmental performance criteria.

This standard is applicable to any organisation that wishes to:

  • implement, maintain and improve an environmental management system
  • assure itself of its conformance with its own stated environmental policy
  • demonstrate conformance
  • ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations
  • seek certification of its environmental management system by an authorised external certification body
  • make a self-determination of conformance

By having their environmental management system independently assessed, organisations are making a powerful statement about their environmental credentials. Other benefits of ISO 14001 certification include:

  • Better management of environmental risks, now and in the future
  • Increased access to new customers and business partners
  • Demonstration of legal and regulatory compliance
  • Potential for reduced public liability insurance costs
  • Overall cost savings: in terms of consumption, waste and recycling

Conformity to ISO 14001:2004 will be evaluated by certification bodies (e.g. ASR Internasional Indonesia) during regular surveillance visits and full reassessment will only take place once current certificates expire.

If you would like to see the ISO 14001:2004  standard in full, a copy can be purchased from ISO.

What are the benefits of ISO 14001?

All organisations have some kind of environmental impact. ISO 14001 goes simply beyond guidelines preventing organisations getting into trouble for infringing environmental legislation. In such an environmentally conscious World, organisations need to be more than simply reactive and the ISO 14001 standard allows organisations to do this, with return-on-investment.

As well making a powerful statement about their organisations environmental credentials, ISO 14001 compliance means organisations are:

  • Better managing environmental risks, now and in the future
  • Increasing access to new customers and business partners with competitive edge
  • Demonstrating legal and regulatory compliance
  • Potentially reducing public liability insurance costs
  • Continually improving which helps drive more efficient use of raw materials
  • Enhanced environmental performance leading to cost reductions

In addition, ISO 14001 is designed to be compatible with other management system standards such as ISO 9001 (Quality), OHSAS 18001 (Health and Safety) and ISO 27001 (Information Security). All or any combination of these complementary standards can be integrated seamlessly. They share many principles, so choosing an integrated management system can provide you with outstanding value for money.

How long does ISO 14001 certification last for?

In order to maintain ISO 14001 (ISO 14001:2004) certification, it is necessary to prove that you are still in accordance with the standard’s requirements. Although a certification is valid for three years, a Surveillance Audit is required annually to ensure the organisation is following and maintaining the requirements of their Quality Management System.

How long does it takes to become certified?

As you might expect, becoming certified to an ISO standard can take longer depending on the size of the organisation. In order to be successful, a designated representative should take responsibility within your organisation. However, this doesn’t mean you have to appoint a designated ‘Quality Manager’, just someone who is seen as the main coordinator.

In most cases the principals of the ISO standard will soon become integrated within the organisation and before you know where you are, it’ll just be the way you do things! For most organisations, the process will take 3-6 months from first visit to the award of certification.