ISO 14001:2015: an improved tool for sustainability
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Purpose: ISO 14001 is an International Standard of worldwide acceptance based on the concept that better environmental performance can be achieved when environmental aspects are systematically identified and managed giving a major contribution to Sustainability, through pollution prevention, improved environmental performance and complying with applicable laws. This paper aims to discuss the Sustainability approach through the use of Environmental Management Standards (EMS), the results achieved by organizations that implement and certify those EMS and a special focus on the current process of ISO 14001:2015 revision and the logic behind it. Design/methodology/approach: Revisiting the concept of Sustainability, the status of ISO 14001, its application benefits and certification and the revision process of ISO 14001:2015 and its expected outcomes are discussed. Findings: This is one of the first attempts to analyze, within the Sustainability framework, the status of the revision of the future ISO 14001:2015 International Standard that will respond to the latest trends and is expected to further improve Environmental performance. It will impact the work of many People and Organizations worldwide, try to responder to both practitioners and academicians inputs and also ensure it is compatible with other management system standards such as ISO 9001.Research limitations/implications: Since the revision standard is not yet finished some changes might happen and some of the remarks expressed in this paper might not be consensual within the Environmental Community. In addition, there are still open questions not yet solved by research that could be revisited when the future ISO 14001:2015 is implemented and the conclusions should be an incentive for future research work. Practical implications: There will be a 3 year transition process for the ISO 14001:2015 certification and major benefits like Environmental Management Systems with less emphasis on documentation and new/reinforced approaches as consideration of organizational context and (relevant) Stakeholders, risk based thinking, life cycle perspective and more emphasis on improving environmental performance. Social implications: The ISO 14001:2015 revision will have major impacts on the more than 300.000 worldwide certified organizations and on the many professionals that work with it. Originality/value: Although 14001:2015 is not yet finished the author thinks organizations will have new tools for environment performance enhancement that also try to answer stakeholders inputs and some of the open research issues concerning EMS implementation, certification and outcomes. The main question is how far ISO/TC 207 can go without alienating the "traditional" user. Major changes should include understanding of the organization’s context in order to better manage risk, emphasis on relevant stakeholders, leadership to promote environmental management, the introduction of the concept of life cycle perspective and a shift towards improving environmental performance.
CitationCiravegna Martins da Fonseca, Luis Miguel. ISO 14001:2015: an improved tool for sustainability. "Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management", Abril 2015, vol. 8, núm. 1, p. 37-50.