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ISO 14001 2015 updates: Opportunities and risks

ISO 14001 2015 updates: Opportunities and risks

The updated standard places a requirement for organisations to document opportunities arising from environmental management or performance, rather than just focusing on risks. Sonia Naran explores the key changes.

Changes to the standard
Opportunities are now included in the ISO 14001 text, bringing the standard in line with the best practice approach used by most forward looking organisations with a certified EMS.

New language on opportunities
Many organisations already take into account opportunities as well managing risks so in many ways the new standard is just formalising this approach. The word opportunity now appears throughout the standard but the key change is in Clause 6 where organisations are required to determine and document the risks and opportunities related to its environmental aspects and compliance obligations.

The standard is not prescriptive and organisations are free to choose how they determine risks and opportunities.

Life cycle opportunities
The new language focussing on opportunities also applies to the new life cycle requirements. At each stage of the life cycle of a product or services, organisations will need to consider opportunities to minimise environmental externalities and promote positive environmental impacts.

Transition pain points
There are a number of pain points that organisations may face as they transition to the new 2015 standard. In relation to opportunities these include:

Where to start to identify risks and impacts?
Many businesses will not have considered the risks and opportunities that affect an organisation across its full value chain before. A key challenge for the EMS team will be developing a robust process to identify and quantify the environmental risks and impacts.

Prioritising risks and opportunities is now more complex
The much expanded scope of the updated standard and the requirement to consider stakeholder concerns (see our earlier blog on business context) make it more complex to review and prioritise the risks and opportunities an organisation faces.

So how can we help?
Brite Green is an award winning sustainability consultancy and we specialise in helping organisations develop a strategic approach to environmental management.

Our dedicated team of sustainability strategy and EMS specialists are here to provide whatever support you might need to transition to the new standard, whether it’s checking over your final documents or helping you from start to finish.

We offer a full support package to transition to the new standard so to find out more about how we can help, get in touch with the team:
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Telephone: 0118 900 6713

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