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    As you'd expect, a foray into the wonderful world of environmental management with some personal reflections thrown in. Those of a nervous disposition should look away now.

     

DIS-ING 14001?

 

DIS-ing 14001?

Currently working on the new Draft International Standard on Environmental Management Systems  (ISO DIS 14001:2014) just trying to get my head round what the changes will mean for everyone trying to use the new standard. At the moment, this is largely a desktop exercise as it is early days -  I don’t have the sense of a queue of  coprorate environmental or sustainability managers forming just yet to engage with the material in the new standard. This might partly because it is the holiday season and partly because the new standard isn’t exactly user friendly on first contact, even by my standards and I’m used to dealing with technical documents.

For those of you who know or use the previous version of ISO 14001 (published back in 2004 with a blink-and-you-miss-it confirmatory titivation in 2008), I thought it might be useful to update a series of comparative metrics I saw amongst the papers crossing my desk; it makes a top level comparison between the 2004 version and the 2014 DIS.

I’m not claiming it’s an exhaustive comparison, and any mistakes you might find in it are mine. However, the exercise was a bit more than just a simple wordsearch (I tried to use that function intelligently, making a judgement about whether the reference in the document was a valid requirement or simply a guidance reference). Still, even with all those health warnings, it makes salutaory reading.

We all know (by now)  that the new draft standard is following an ISO inspired drive to use a common High Level Structure for all management system standards. As such, a lot of the apparent extra complexity can laid at the door of this well-intentioned desire to make things easier when integrating more than one management system.

Even so, the comparison makes it hard to see why many smaller organisations would willingly line up to take it on. I think even corporate environmental managers may wonder whether the benefits of the new structure are outweighed by the lack of clarity in expression at this stage.

Don’t take my word for it. Get hold of a copy iof the DIS and form your own judgement. In the meantime, here’s the little taste of what you have to look forward to : ISO 14001 2004 vs ISO DIS 14001 2014 Green Inck

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