ISO 14000 is a family of standards related to environmental management that exists to help organizations (a) minimize how their operations (processes, etc.) negatively affect the environment (i.e., cause adverse changes to air, water, or land) (b) comply with applicable laws, regulations, and other environmentally oriented requirements, and (c) continually improve in the above.
ISO 14000 is similar to ISO 9000 quality management in that both pertain to the process of how a product is produced, rather than to the product itself. ISO 14001:2015 sets out the criteria for an Environmental Management System (EMS). It does not state requirements for environmental performance, but maps out a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective EMS.
It can be used by any organization that wants to improve resource efficiency, reduce waste, and drive down costs. Using ISO 14001:2015 can provide assurance to company management and employees as well as external stakeholders that environmental impact is being measured and improved.
ISO 14001 can also be integrated with other management functions and assists companies in meeting their environmental and economic goals. ISO 14001 is voluntary, with its main aim to assist companies in continually improving their environmental performance, while complying with any applicable legislation.
Organizations are responsible for setting their own targets and performance measures, with the standard serving to assist them in meeting objectives and goals and in the subsequent monitoring and measurement of these. The standard can be applied to a variety of levels in the business, from organizational level, right down to the product and service level. Rather than focusing on exact measures and goals of environmental performance, the standard highlights what an organization needs to do to meet these goals.
ISO 14001 is known as a generic management system standard, meaning that it is relevant to any organization seeking to improve and manage resources more effectively.
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