ISO 14001 - ISO's global standard for environmental management systems - was revised earlier this month. The updated version of the standard, dubbed ISO 14001:2015, places more emphasis on 'life cycle' thinking and company-wide communication whilst putting the onus on top-level managers to ensure that their EMS is properly implemented throughout the organisation.

But why were these changes necessary? What factors drove ISO to revise this (already highly successful) family of standards? This official video clip, starring ISO secretary-general Kevin McKinley, has the answer:

Here, in case you're unable to watch that video, are Mr McKinley's main points in summary:

  • Oraganisations are under increasing pressure to meet the environmental requirements put in place by policymakers

  • They also come under a lot of scrutiny from stakeholders who expect a certain degree of environmental consciousness from modern businesses

  • 11 years have passed since the last ISO 14001 revision, and topics such as climate change and water/energy usage now form a far larger part of overall discourse

These were some of the changes that spurred ISO into action and necessitated a new version of the ISO 14001 standard.

To learn more about the ISO 14001 standard (and, more importantly, to find out how your business can get ISO 14001 certified), please visit our ISO 14001 page or click here to contact the NPT Management Systems team.

Following on from last week's big news (the ISO 14001 standard receiving its first update in over a decade), we're excited to announce that the latest edition of ISO 9001, the international standard for quality management systems, has now been published as well. This new revision, dubbed ISO 9001:2015, was released earlier today, and standards experts the world over are already poring over the changes that have been made.

What's new in ISO 9001:2015?

Here are some of the differences between ISO 9001:2015 and the previous version of this standard:

  • Enhanced compatibility with other management systems. One of the main aims of this revision is to make ISO 9001 more compatible with ISO 14001 and other management systems such as ISO 27001. The new version of ISO 9001 has a higher-level structure than its predecessor, making it easier for businesses to use multiple ISO management systems in conjunction with one another.

  • Stronger emphasis on "risk-based thinking". Official ISO literature highlights this as one of ISO 9001:2015's core concepts. A risk-conscious approach, the organisation has suggested, will help businesses to prevent "undesirable outcomes".

  • Less prescriptive, more performance-based. ISO 9001 has been growing less prescriptive with each new update; over the years, focus has gradually shifted away from rigorous documentation and towards the management process itself. ISO 9001:2015 continues in this tradition, with the revision touted as being less prescriptive than ever.

If you would like to learn more about the ISO 9001 update and what it might mean for your business, please get in touch with NPT Management Systems - we can help you to make sure that your management systems remain fully certified in the wake of this revision.

Image Credit: Isaac Bowen

ISO 14001:2015 - the latest version of the international standard for environmental management systems - was launched this week. This is the first ISO 14001 update since 2004; here's a quick rundown of what's new:

  • The revised version of ISO 14001 requires a greater commitment from top-level management, with company leaders becoming more accountable for environmental processes.

  • ISO 14001:2015 also places a greater emphasis on communication, encouraging certified businesses to better communicate their environmental management systems throughout every level of the company hierarchy.

  • Additionally, managers will need to think about the life cycle of what their company offers. It's important to consider the environmental impact of one's products and/or services at every stage (from initial development to "end-of-life"), and ISO 14001:2015 aims to ensure that this is done worldwide.

  • To meet ISO 14001:2015 criteria, any environmental information supplied by businesses must be reliable and accurate.

  • Finally, ISO 14001-compliant environmental management systems will now be expected to show alignment with the overall "strategic direction" of the parent company.

Businesses are already achieving ISO 14001:2015 certification throughout the UK. If you want your company to be among them, contact NPT Management Systems now, or click here to learn more about the ISO 14001 standard.

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Environmental management is an important consideration for any business, large or small. Corporations can have a massive impact on the environment, and as a company owner, it's your responsibility to ensure that your business isn't damaging the planet.

So how can you minimise your impact on the world around you? The international standard for environmental management is ISO 14001, and implementing an ISO 14001-certified environmental management system (EMS) is a great way to make sure that your company is doing its environmental duty.

Every ISO-certified EMS revolves around the familiar Plan/Do/Check/Act cycle, and requires a comprehensive approach to environmental policy that ensures good communication and awareness at all levels. As with any other good management system, your EMS should continue to improve even after you've achieved ISO certification; remember, the ultimate goal is to keep your business as environmentally-friendly as possible at all times, and this cannot be achieved without constant planning and action.

With an ISO 14001 update due before the end of the year, now is the time to re-assess your environmental management system and ensure that your processes are as green as possible. If you need help achieving ISO 14001 certification, give NPT a call on 02380 659 867 - we've helped countless businesses to design and implement ISO-compliant management systems, and we'd be more than happy to assist you.