Concepts of ISO 140001


This standard provides organizations with the elements for an environmental management system (EMS), which can be integrated into other management systems to help achieve environmental and economic goals. It describes the requirements for registration and/or self-declaration of the organization’s EMS. Demonstration of successful implementation can be used to assure other parties that an appropriate EMS is in place. It was written to be applicable to all types and sizes of organizations and to accommodate diverse geographical, cultural, and social conditions. The requirements are based on the process and not on the product. It does, however, require commitment to the organization’s EMS policy, applicable regulations, and continual improvement.

The basic approach to EM begins with the environmental policy, which is followed by planning, implementation and operation, checking and corrective action, and management review. There is a logical sequence of events to achieve continual improvement. Many of the requirements may be developed concurrently or revisited at any time. The overall aim is to support environmental protection and prevention of pollution in balance with socioeconomic needs.

The standard is not intended to create nontariff barriers or to change an organization’s legal obligations. In addition, it does not include aspects of occupational health and safety management, although an organization may include these aspects in the documentation.

In order to understand the requirements, a few definitions are necessary. Environment is defined as the global surroundings in which an organization operates and includes air, water, land, natural resources, flora, fauna, humans, and their interaction. Environmental aspect is defined as an element of an organization’s activities, products, or services that can interact with the environment. Examples are wastewater discharge, air emissions, and energy use. Environment impact is defined as any change, whether adverse or beneficial, wholly or partially resulting from an organization’s activities, products, or services. Examples are impacts on habitat, water supply, and soil erosion. Environmental objective is an overall environmental goal, arising from the policy statement, that an organization sets for itself and which is quantified when practical. They define how the policy will be achieved. For example, an objective could be to control the temperature of the wastewater effluent. Environmental target is a detailed performance requirement and should be quantified when practical. It needs to be met in order to achieve the objective. For example the wastewater temperature should be controlled between 10 and 14 degrees centigrade.

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