Of all the standards within the ISO 14000 series, ISO 14001 is the standard that specifies the requirements for an organization’s EMS. The Environmental Management System (EMS) document is the central document controlling the interaction of the core elements in the organization, and provides a third-party auditor with the key information necessary to understand the environmental management systems in place. It is a “tool” that enables an organization of any size or type to control the impact of its activities, products or services on the environment. As in the case of ISO 9001, the key to a successful ISO 14001 EMS is having documented procedures that are implemented and maintained so that they describe environmental goals and their place in all other company-wide activities.
ISO 14001 standards require sites to document and make an Environmental Policy available to the public. In addition, procedures should be established for a continuous review of the environmental aspects and the impacts of products, activities, and services. Based on these environmental aspects and impacts, then goals and objectives are established that are consistent with the environmental policy,. As with a QMS, Internal Audits of the EMS should be conducted routinely to ensure that non-conformances in the system are identified and addressed. In addition, the management review process must be in place to ensure top management’s involvement in the assessment of EMS.