Updated environmental standard improves link to business strategy

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Green chainThe revised version of one of the world’s most popular environmental standards aims to improve the link between business strategy and environmental issues and encourage a stronger focus on life-cycle thinking. the updated ISO 14001:2015 has responded to a number of current trends, such as an increasing recognition by companies of the need to factor in both external and internal elements that influence their impact, including climate volatility. Other key improvements in the new version include a greater commitment from leadership; an increased alignment with strategic direction; greater protection for the environment, with a focus on proactive initiatives; more effective communication, driven through a communications strategy and an increased emphasis on life-cycle thinking, considering each stage of a product or service, from development to end-of-life.

Anne-Marie Warris, Chair of ISO/TC 207/SC1, the technical committee that developed the standard and undertook the revision, said: “ISO 14001 has fulfilled many of the dreams we foresaw over the last 20 years, including helping people to manage all their environmental issues in a holistic manner. Looking forward, the new version will help with a stronger integration between environmental issues and an organization’s strategic action planning and thinking. I foresee the life-cycle perspective and supply chain issues embedded in ISO 14001 becoming stronger in the future.”

ISO Acting Secretary-General Kevin McKinley said the newly revised ISO 14001 reflects many changes in technology and what stakeholders expect of organizations.

“It is also a competitive advantage,” he said. “ISO 14001 is something that organizations can use to distinguish themselves from their competition, and in many cases also providing financial advantage, helping organizations to realize efficiencies and improve performance.”

The revision is the culmination of work done by 121 expert members of technical committee ISO/TC 207/SC 1 for environmental development, which is led by BSI, ISO member for the UK, representing multiple stakeholder groups from 88 countries.