The Complete Guide to ISO 14001:2015 and Environmental Management Systems

The Complete Guide to ISO 14001:2015 and Environmental Management Systems

ISO 14001:2015 is a commonly sought ISO standard for businesses seeking certification in environmental management. Alongside ISO 9001:2015 for quality management and ISO 45001:2018 for occupational health and safety, ISO 14001:2015 completes the trio of widely recognised ISO certifications.

ISO 14001:2015 is an internationally recognised standard that provides organisations with a robust framework for effective environmental management systems (EMS). Compliance with ISO 14001:2015 demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to environmental responsibility, sustainability, and regulatory compliance.

To facilitate ISO 14001:2015 compliance, organisations can leverage modern technology solutions that streamline processes, improve data accuracy, and enhance overall efficiency.

In this blog post, we will delve into the key aspects of ISO 14001:2015 compliance, the importance of compliance, and how DIGI CLIP mobile forms, along with its Safety Tracker add-on module, can assist organisations in achieving and maintaining ISO 14001:2015 compliance. By leveraging these tools, organisations can optimise their environmental management systems, reduce their environmental impact, and ensure regulatory compliance.

Understanding ISO 14001:2015

ISO 14001:2015 is an international standard for environmental management systems (EMS) developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It provides a framework for organisations to establish, implement, maintain, and improve their environmental performance. The standard sets out the criteria for an effective EMS that helps organisations identify and control their environmental impact, reduce waste, conserve resources, and minimise their overall environmental footprint.

ISO 14001:2015 focuses on a systematic approach to environmental management, requiring organisations to establish environmental objectives, develop action plans, and monitor progress towards achieving those objectives. It also emphasises the importance of legal compliance, risk assessment, and stakeholder engagement.

Some key elements of ISO 14001:2015 include:

  1. Environmental Policy: Organisations are required to establish and communicate their commitment to environmental performance improvement through a documented environmental policy.
  2. Planning: This involves identifying environmental aspects, assessing their impact, and setting objectives and targets to address significant environmental issues.
  3. Implementation and Operation: Organisations must establish processes and controls to ensure effective implementation of the environmental management system, including resource management, training, and operational controls.
  4. Checking and Corrective Action: Regular monitoring, measuring, and evaluation of environmental performance, along with a process for investigating and correcting nonconformities or deviations.
  5. Management Review: Top management should review the EMS at planned intervals to ensure its continued suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness.

Benefits of ISO 14001:2015 Compliance

ISO 14001:2015 provides a structured framework for environmental management and helps organisations embed sustainability into their core business practices. Being ISO 14001:2015 compliant is important for the following reasons:

  1. Environmental Performance Improvement: ISO 14001:2015 provides a systematic approach for organisations to identify and manage their environmental impacts. By implementing the standard, organisations can establish goals and objectives for environmental performance improvement, reduce pollution, conserve resources, and minimise waste generation. This leads to a more sustainable operation and helps protect the environment.
  2. Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Compliance with environmental laws and regulations is crucial for organisations to avoid fines, penalties, and legal liabilities. ISO 14001:2015 ensures that organisations have processes in place to identify and meet their legal and regulatory requirements related to environmental management. It helps organisations stay up-to-date with changing environmental regulations and demonstrate their commitment to compliance.
  3. Enhanced Reputation and Stakeholder Confidence: ISO 14001:2015 certification is recognised globally and provides a credible demonstration of an organisation’s commitment to environmental responsibility. It enhances the organisation’s reputation among customers, suppliers, regulators, and the public. Being ISO 14001:2015 compliant can differentiate an organisation from its competitors, attract environmentally conscious customers, and build trust with stakeholders.
  4. Cost Savings and Efficiency: Environmental management practices promoted by ISO 14001:2015 often lead to cost savings and increased operational efficiency. By implementing measures to reduce energy consumption, minimise waste, and improve resource efficiency, organisations can lower their operating costs and improve their bottom line. Additionally, effective environmental management can help organisations avoid environmental incidents and associated costs.
  5. Improved Risk Management: ISO 14001:2015 emphasises the identification and assessment of environmental risks and opportunities. By systematically evaluating and addressing these risks, organisations can proactively manage potential environmental incidents, reduce the likelihood of accidents or pollution events, and minimise repetitional damage.
  6. Access to Markets and Business Opportunities: Many organisations require suppliers to demonstrate their environmental credentials as part of their procurement processes. Being ISO 14001:2015 compliant can open doors to new business opportunities by meeting these requirements and gaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Some public and private tenders specifically require ISO 14001 certification as a prerequisite.

Implementing ISO 14001:2015

These key aspects of ISO 14001:2015 provide a structured framework for organisations to manage their environmental responsibilities effectively, improve their environmental performance, and demonstrate commitment to sustainability. 

The key aspects of implementing ISO 14001:2015  include:

  1. Environmental Policy: Organisations need to establish an environmental policy that outlines their commitment to environmental performance improvement, compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and prevention of pollution. The policy should be communicated internally and externally.
  2. Planning: Organisations must identify the environmental aspects of their activities, products, and services, and assess their significance in terms of environmental impact. Based on this assessment, environmental objectives and targets should be established, along with action plans to achieve them.
  3. Support and Resources: Adequate resources, including personnel, technology, and infrastructure, need to be allocated for the implementation and maintenance of the environmental management system (EMS). Competence requirements for personnel should be defined, and training and awareness programs should be conducted.
  4. Operational Controls: Organisations should establish procedures and processes to effectively control activities that have significant environmental impacts. This includes measures to prevent pollution, reduce waste generation, conserve resources, and manage potential emergency situations.
  5. Performance Evaluation: Monitoring and measurement of key environmental indicators should be conducted to assess the organisation’s environmental performance. This includes tracking progress towards objectives and targets, as well as evaluating compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Internal audits and management reviews are also essential to ensure the effectiveness of the EMS.
  6. Continuous Improvement: Organisations need to continually strive for improvement in their environmental performance. This involves identifying opportunities for improvement, implementing corrective and preventive actions, and learning from incidents or non-conformities. Lessons learned should be used to update the EMS and enhance environmental performance over time.
  7. Legal Compliance: Organisations are required to identify and comply with applicable environmental laws, regulations, and other requirements. This includes keeping up-to-date with changes in environmental legislation and ensuring that all activities, products, and services are conducted in compliance with the law.
  8. Stakeholder Engagement: Organisations should engage and communicate with relevant stakeholders, both internal and external, on environmental matters. This can involve consultation, sharing information, and considering stakeholder perspectives and concerns in decision-making processes.

Leveraging DIGI CLIP for ISO 14001:2015 Compliance

DIGI CLIP mobile forms, a digital checklist and data collection software platform, offers robust capabilities to support organisations in their ISO 14001:2015 compliance efforts. By utilising DIGI CLIP’s features and functionalities, organisations can streamline their environmental management processes, improve data accuracy, and enhance overall efficiency. DIGI CLIP can also be utilised to assist with ISO 14001:2015 compliance in the following ways:

  1. Environmental Aspect Identification and Assessment: DIGI CLIP can be used to collect data and conduct assessments to identify and evaluate environmental aspects and impacts. The platform allows for the creation of customised digital forms and checklists to gather information on processes, activities, and their associated environmental effects. This streamlines the data collection process and facilitates the identification of significant environmental aspects that require attention.
  2. Environmental Performance Monitoring: DIGI CLIP provides a mobile platform for monitoring and measuring key environmental performance indicators (e.g., energy consumption, water usage, waste generation) in real-time. It allows employees to capture data, conduct inspections, and report environmental incidents or deviations from set targets. The platform can also support automated data analysis and reporting, providing organisations with valuable insights into their environmental performance and helping them track progress towards objectives.
  3. Corrective and Preventive Actions: DIGI CLIP enables organisations to document and manage corrective and preventive actions (CAPAs) related to environmental management. It allows for the creation of CAPA forms to report incidents, nonconformities, or improvement opportunities. The platform facilitates the assignment of responsibilities, tracking of actions, and monitoring of their completion. This helps organisations effectively address environmental issues, implement necessary changes, and prevent future occurrences.
  4. Audits and Inspections: DIGI CLIP can assist organisations in conducting environmental audits and inspections. The platform allows auditors to create customised checklists, perform assessments, and record findings directly on mobile devices. It streamlines the audit process, ensures consistent data collection, and facilitates the generation of audit reports. It also enables easy follow-up on identified nonconformities and tracks their closure.

How can Safety Tracker help?

Safety Tracker is an add-on module to DIGI CLIP and is designed to support organisations in managing health and safety processes. While its primary focus is on safety management, it can also be utilised to assist with ISO 14001:2015 compliance in the following ways:

  1. Incident Reporting and Management: Safety Tracker allows organisations to capture and track environmental incidents, near misses, and nonconformities related to environmental management. This helps in identifying and addressing potential environmental risks and improving overall environmental performance.
  2. Streamlined Incident Workflow: Safety Tracker enables organisations to establish a structured workflow for incident management. It allows users to assign responsibilities, set priority levels, and track the progress of incident resolution. This streamlined workflow ensures timely response and resolution of incidents, reducing the risk of recurrence and ensuring compliance with incident management protocols.
  3. Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPA): Safety Tracker facilitates the management of CAPAs by providing a centralised system to document, assign, and track corrective actions and preventive measures related to environmental issues. It ensures timely resolution of identified nonconformities and helps prevent the recurrence of environmental incidents.
  4. Risk Assessments: The platform can be used to conduct risk assessments specific to environmental aspects and impacts. Safety Tracker enables organisations to create and manage risk assessment forms, record assessment results, and implement necessary controls to mitigate identified environmental risks.
  5. Documentation and Audit Trail: Safety Tracker provides a comprehensive audit trail for all incidents, non-conformities, and related actions. It allows organisations to document investigation findings, corrective actions taken, and evidence of compliance. This documentation supports internal and external audits, demonstrating compliance with regulatory requirements and facilitating a culture of transparency and accountability.
  6. Integration with Compliance Processes: Safety Tracker is used alongside DIGI CLIP mobile forms to capture incident data directly from mobile devices, ensuring real-time reporting and eliminating manual data entry. This integration streamlines the flow of information, enhances data accuracy, and simplifies compliance management.


ISO 14001:2015 is a valuable tool for organisations seeking to improve their environmental performance, comply with regulations, and enhance their reputation. By implementing the standard’s requirements and utilising tools like DIGI CLIP mobile forms and Safety Tracker, organisations can streamline their environmental management processes, monitor performance, and achieve sustainable growth.

Remember, ISO 14001:2015 compliance is an ongoing process that requires commitment, dedication, and continuous improvement. By integrating environmental considerations into their everyday operations, organisations can contribute to a greener future while reaping the benefits of improved efficiency, cost savings, and stakeholder confidence.

Frequency Asked Questions 

How can my organisation achieve ISO 14001:2015 certification?2023-05-31T15:39:28+09:30

To achieve ISO 14001:2015 certification, organisations typically follow a systematic process. This involves conducting an initial environmental review, identifying significant environmental aspects and impacts, developing an environmental management system, implementing controls and procedures, and conducting internal audits. Once the system is in place, organisations can engage a certification body for an independent audit to assess compliance with the standard and, if successful, receive ISO 14001:2015 certification.

Who can implement ISO 14001:2015?2023-05-31T15:38:44+09:30

ISO 14001:2015 is applicable to any organisation, regardless of its size, sector, or location. It is suitable for businesses, government agencies, non-profit organisations, and other entities seeking to manage and improve their environmental performance. The standard is flexible and can be tailored to suit the specific needs and context of each organisation.

How can ISO 14001:2015 benefit my organisation?2023-05-31T15:38:04+09:30

ISO 14001:2015 offers several benefits to organisations. It helps improve environmental performance, reduce waste and resource consumption, identify cost-saving opportunities, and enhance operational efficiency. ISO 14001:2015 certification can also enhance the organisation’s reputation, attract environmentally conscious customers, and facilitate compliance with environmental regulations.

Why is ISO 14001:2015 important?2023-05-31T15:37:23+09:30

ISO 14001:2015 is important for several reasons. It helps organisations minimise their environmental impact, comply with environmental regulations, enhance their reputation, and achieve operational efficiencies. It also demonstrates a commitment to environmental responsibility, which is increasingly valued by customers, stakeholders, and regulators.

What is ISO 14001:2015?2023-05-31T15:36:43+09:30

ISO 14001:2015 is an international standard that outlines the requirements for an effective environmental management system (EMS). It provides a framework for organisations to manage their environmental responsibilities, improve their environmental performance, and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal, financial, or other professional advice, nor is it intended to replace the advice of a qualified professional. The author and publisher disclaim any liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential damages arising from the use of or reliance on the information provided in this article. Readers are advised to seek the advice of a qualified professional for any specific concerns or questions related to their business operations or compliance with relevant regulations.

By |2023-06-01T11:14:25+09:30May 31st, 2023|Business, Checklists, Compliance, Environment, Safety|0 Comments

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