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What is the Minimum Documented Information for ISO 14001?

Are you planning on putting your business through the process of certification for ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Standard or EMS)? Then you may be wondering about the minimum documented information required for 14001, so let us break it all down for you.

Scope of the Environmental Management System

In most cases, you apply your EMS to your entire organisation; however, there may be circumstances where it is either inappropriate or impossible for a process, site, or team to fall under the scope of your management system. Your Scope is where you stipulate what’s ‘in’, and what’s ‘out’.

Environmental Policy

The Environmental Policy should outline your organisation’s goal to operate in an environmentally sound manner, to comply with any legal regulations, to prevent pollution, and to continually improve. This document should demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to any requirements or actions that will reduce its environmental impact.

Addressing of Risks and Opportunities

You need to demonstrate that you are identifying and addressing any risks or opportunities presented by your EMS. The standard doesn’t prescribe that you document a particular

Criteria for the Evaluation, and determining the Significance of your Environmental Aspects and Impacts

You need to rank the business environmental risks (Impacts) such as energy use and waste. You must write down the method used so that the auditor can understand your logic. You also need to determine which are ‘significant’.

Environmental Objectives and Plans for Achieving Them

Your organisation should have clear environmental objectives, and a clear plan of how to achieve those objectives. Where possible, quantify your targets; for example, an aim to “reduce energy usage” should instead be “reduce energy usage by 15% within 24 months”.

Operational Control Procedures

You need to keep documented evidence that your operational controls ensure that:

- you met all legal and compliance requirements

- you assessed and set environmental objectives

- you defined internal, external, and outsourced processes

- you assessed, implemented, and reviewed any training requirements

Procedure for Emergency Preparedness and Response

Emergencies can be situations that arise within your organisation that affect the environment or environmental events that affect your organisation. You need to demonstrate that your organisation can respond to either

Competence Records

Introducing an EMS often introduces new practices or requirements, and so can often lead to additional training. Recording the training and competence levels of every member of your organisation will make it easier to track.

Evidence of Communication

It is essential to show that you are sending clear communications, both internally and externally. Internal communications, including emails, meetings, newsletters, and online announcements should inform members of the organisation of your environmental objectives; how they need to contribute towards them, and what their responsibilities are. External communications are more likely to detail what you expect from a supplier to meet your environmental objectives, or how you will meet your environmental obligations to a third party.

Monitoring Performance Information

One of the benefits of ISO 14001 is the emphasis on continual improvement, which is why a crucial part of an EMS is to monitor the performance and effectiveness of it. You need to keep a record of these evaluations that includes evidence that what you measure has been considered; as well as how and when to measure it.

Compliance Obligations Record

It is essential that everyone in your organisation is aware of the legal and environmental requirements they are subject to and you should also record any obligations your organisation has to other parties.

Compliance Evaluation Record

The best way to make sure your organisation is meeting its compliance obligations is to evaluate whether the organisation is successfully compliant and record the results.

Internal Audit Programme and Results

An internal audit is a vital aspect of an EMS, assessing not just its effectiveness, but also your organisation’s overall environmental performance.

Management Review Results

Senior management should regularly review the EMS to make sure that it remains effective, and keep a record of the results of these reviews in line with the standard.

Non-conformities and Corrective Action

Your organisation needs to document any non-conformities in your environmental processes and operations, and the actions you took as a result

This list may seem daunting, but you do not have to deal with it alone, we can help.

Our expert consultants can help you implement an effective EMS that allows your organisation to reach its goals - contact us on Swansea: 01792 721750 Cardiff: 02920 099450 or info@risgsolutions.co.uk and we can put together a plan for you and your organisation.

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