ISO 14001 is an international standard which specifies requirements to Environmental Management Systems (EMS). It is to identify and manage the environmental aspects, impacts and respond to changing environmental conditions in balance with socio-economic needs resulting from their business operations, products and services. EMS can also be integrated with other Management Systems such as Quality Management System, OHSAS, etc.
ISO 14001 also assists organisations to manage ecological risks with more effective and environmental friendly methods to improve overall environmental performance. Environmental Management Systems can be applied to any type of organizations regardless of it sizes, industry and sector. After all, ISO 14001:2015 enables an organization contributes to the environmental pillar of sustainability.
BSI Group published the world's first environmental management systems standard, BS 7750 in March 1992, as part of a response to growing concerns on protecting environment. Environmental management had been part of larger systems such as Responsible Care. BS 7750 supplied the template for the development of the ISO 14000 series in 1996.
Larger organizations voluntarily constructed their own EMSs prior to the development of ISO 14000. However, this made comparisons of requirements between companies difficult. Thus, the universal ISO 14000 series was developed as part of the overall management system, that includes organizational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes, and resources for developing, implementing, achieving, and maintaining the environmental policy.
Public sentiments on protecting environment increased globally. ISO 14001 environmental management system is becoming even more important as regulators come out with more regulations and policies minimising impact on the earth. Thus, the EMS is important because: