What is EMS (ISO14001:2015)?

ISO 14001:2015, Environmental Management System stipulates the requirements for an environmental management system that an organization can use to improve its environmental performance. EMS is projected for use by an organization seeking to manage its environmental responsibilities in a methodical manner that contributes to the environmental support of sustainability.

EMS helps an organization to achieve the envisioned outcomes of its environmental management system, which provide value for the environment, the organization itself and the interested parties.

Aim of an environmental management system (ISO 14001:2015):

The purpose of this International Standard is to provide organizations with a framework to protect the environment and respond to changing environmental conditions in balance with socioeconomic needs. It specifies requirements that enable an organization to achieve the intended outcomes it sets for its environmental management system. A systematic approach to environmental management can provide top management with information to build success over the long term and create options for contributing to sustainable development by:

— protecting the environment by preventing or mitigating adverse environmental impacts

— mitigating the potential adverse effect of environmental conditions on the organization

— assisting the organization in the fulfillment of compliance obligations

— enhancing environmental performance

— controlling or influencing the way the organization’s products and services are designed, manufactured, distributed, consumed and disposed by using a life cycle perspective that can prevent environmental impacts from being unintentionally shifted elsewhere within the life cycle

— achieving financial and operational benefits that can result from implementing environmentally sound alternatives that strengthen the organization’s market position

— communicating environmental information to relevant interested parties.

ISO 14001:2015 is applicable to any organization, regardless of size, type, and nature, and applies to the environmental aspects of its activities, products, and services that the organization determines it can either control or influence considering a life cycle perspective. ISO 14001:2015 does not state specific environmental performance criteria.

ISO 14001:2015 can be used in whole or in part to systematically improve environmental management. Claims of conformity to ISO 14001:2015, however, are not acceptable unless all its requirements are incorporated into an organization’s environmental management system and fulfilled without exclusion.

Plan-Do-Check-Act model for EMS implementation:

The basis for the approach underlying an environmental management system is founded on the concept of Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA). The PDCA model provides an iterative process used by organizations to achieve continual improvement. It can be applied to an environmental management system and to each of its individual elements. It can be briefly described as follows.

— Plan: establish environmental objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the organization’s environmental policy.

— Do: implement the processes as planned.

— Check: monitor and measure processes against the environmental policy, including its commitments, environmental objectives, and operating criteria, and report the results.

— Act: take actions to continually improve.

Figure 1 shows how the framework introduced in this International Standard could be integrated into a PDCA model, which can help new and existing users to understand the importance of a systems approach.


Figure 1 — Relationship between PDCA and the framework in this International Standard

Main Elements of Environment Management System:


  1. Environmental policy:
  2. Top management shall define its organization’s environmental policy, and ensure it is appropriate to the environmental impact of its activities, products, and services.
  3. Commitment to continuous improvement, prevention of pollution and compliance with legislation and regulations shall be documented, implemented, and maintained.
  4. The environmental objectives and targets shall be set and reviewed.
  5. The policy shall be communicated to all persons working for the organization and be made available to the public.


  • Environmental Requirements and Voluntary Initiatives
  • Employees understand their roles in meeting environmental requirements
  • Identify management and manufacturing practices that affect the organization’s ability to meet requirements
  • Identify and work with programs that encourage prevention pollution


  • Objectives/Targets
  • Set the following environmental objectives: comply with environmental requirements; continuous improvement in regulated and non-regulated areas; prevent pollution
  • Make objectives specific to the organization
  • Set timeframes to meet objectives
  • Update objectives as environmental requirements evolve


  • Structure, Responsibility and Resources
  • Ensure the organization has the personnel and resources needed to meet objectives
  • Make managers responsible for the environmental performance of their unit
  • Develop procedures for attaining objectives


  • Operational Control
  • Establish a procedure to ensure the proper waste management hierarchy is followed
  • Develop simple procedures to measure and report the environmental impacts of processes and products


  • Corrective and Preventive Action and Emergency Procedures
  • Document procedures for identifying, correcting and preventing mistakes
  • Develop emergency procedures to minimize or eliminate adverse environmental impacts associated with accidents or emergencies
  • Correct causes of potential hazards to prevent pollution


  • Training, Awareness and Competence
  • Train staff whose roles affect meeting objectives, and make certain staff are capable of carrying out required duties
  • Mandatory training include detailed pollution prevention methods


  • Organizational Decision-making and Planning
  • Use life-cycle analysis to identify the impact products make on the environment
  • Empower all employees to make pollution prevention improvements that do not require significant resources


  • Document Control
  • For future evaluation, document steps taken to meet objectives
  • Use electronic documentation to improve record management
  • Document all pollution prevention suggestions

10. Continuous Evaluation and Improvement


  • Conduct and document periodic objective-based audits of the organization’s performance
  • Use audits to assess pollution prevention efforts

Why Environment Management System is necessary:

For some organizations, Environment Management System is a moral and ethical issue, but for others, the return on investment calculation will be imperative. Many argue that all these objectives can be achieved.  Here are some of the benefits:


  • A reduction in environmental incidents and an improved reputation
  • A marketing advantage and in many tenders, EMS is now a fundamental requirement
  • An improvement in regulatory performance and therefore lower risk of fines for non-compliance with environmental legislation
  • A focused, knowledgeable and motivated workforce
  • A reduction in waste, including raw materials, utility waste, and waste disposal costs
  • The opportunity of attracting more customers, investors, and shareholders
  • Increased profits from lower costs

To do a sustainable and environment-friendly business ISO 14001 certification plays a vital role as it is a worldwide accepted recognition for any organization. To keep our planet habitable for the next generation we need to be more careful regarding nature and the use of natural resources. EMS is one of the best ways to make us aware of the environment and to save the environment by minimizing the use of non-renewable energy and mitigating all kinds of pollution.


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