I Have ISO 14001:2004, What Do I Need To Do?

ISO 14001 is the international standard for Environmental Management Systems (EMS). It provides a framework for organisations of any size to enhance their environmental performance and manage their environmental responsibilities. In 2015, the standard was revised to ensure its continual relevance and so, all companies with ISO 14001:2004 have three years to transition to the new requirements. With the deadline, September 2018 approaching, what do you need to do if your system has not yet been updated?

Find out what needs updating

There are many similarities between the 2004 and the 2015 standards so you will satisfy some of the requirements already. To identify areas that need attention, you can carry out a gap analysis to determine what you have already and what you are missing against the ISO 14001:2015 standards.

Create an action plan

After you have identified where the gaps are in your current environmental management system compared to the 2015 standard, you can determine what actions need to be taken to meet the required criteria. This may involve updating procedures, creating new ones or implementing new environmental controls. In your action plan, consider what exactly needs to be done to meet the requirements, who will carry out the identified action, what resources may be necessary, a target date for completion and how you will be able to assess the completed action meets the ISO 14001:2015 environmental management standard.

Update your policies and procedures

The next step is to carry out your action plan. You should update the identified policies and procedures to meet the requirements of the ISO 14001:2015 standard. Some will need minor amendments, whereas others may require major changes. You may also need to develop additional policies and procedures and some old ones may become redundant.


Once you have updated the necessary policies and procedures, you need to make sure they are implemented throughout your organisation. This will include communication to staff, displaying new policies and making sure redundant policies and procedures are no longer available or followed. It may also require the introduction of new controls and equipment to enhance environmental performance.

What should I do next?

Once you have taken action to update your Environmental Management Systems, you should carry out another gap analysis. This will identify any areas that you missed during your first audit or any actions that have not quite met the requirement of the standard. It may be useful to have someone else carry out this gap analysis to give it a fresh pair of eyes. Once you are happy that you meet ISO 14001:2015, you can contact your certification body to have your Environmental Management Systems recertified to the updated standard.

The deadline for transition to the 2015 version of ISO 14001 is September 2018. Although that may seem like a while away, companies may need to make significant changes to their management systems before then. You should not wait up until the deadline for recertification as certification bodies may have a backlog of companies trying to do the same. Have you taken action to become certified to ISO 14001:2015? If you still need to do so, Green Spark can help. For more information on environmental management systems, click here or call our expert team today on 0330 440 4800.