An environmental management system helps organizations identify, manage, monitor and control their environmental issues in a “holistic” manner. Other ISO standards that look at different types of management systems, such as ISO 9001 for quality management and ISO 45001 for occupational health and safety, all use a High-Level Structure. This means that ISO 14001 can be integrated easily into any existing ISO management system. ISO 14001 is suitable for organizations of all types and sizes, be they private, not-for-profit or governmental. It requires that an organization considers all environmental issues relevant to its operations, such as air pollution, water and sewage issues, waste management, soil contamination, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and resource use and efficiency.
Like all ISO management system standards, ISO 14001 includes the need for continual improvement of an organization’s systems and approach to environmental concerns. The standard has recently been revised, with key improvements such as the increased prominence of environmental management within the organization’s strategic planning processes, greater input from leadership and a stronger commitment to proactive initiatives that boost environmental performance.