Friday, 15 September 2017 will the mark the start of a final year-long process, which began on 15 September 2015 – The three-year transition period for users of ISO 14001:2004 & that will end on Friday, 14 September 2018.
And so will begin all kinds of promotion, awareness-raising and scare tactics by consultants and certification bodies to highlight the plight of any organisation still certified to the earlier version: ISO 14001:2004 or, indeed, the European Union’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) which is based on ISO 14001.
Don’t be scared or goaded into a rash decision to change your Environmental Management System (EMS), hire a consultant or to change your certification body based on anything that you hear on social media, mail-shots or direct calls.
It is possible to make a successful move (or transition) to ISO 14001:2015 as many thousands of organisations across the world have already demonstrated.
Your transition should be no different – Just remember that the following three simple steps will provide the right focus to a successful move to ISO 14001:2015…
Helpful Resources are out there
There are more than enough resources out there ranging from books, magazine articles, social media posts, and support relationships that you have with your existing certification body or external consultant.
After two years of the three-year transition period, there is a significant body of experience in the use of ISO 14001:2015 that can be used to guide your organisation to a successful ISO 14001:2015 certification.
1. Seek out useful ISO 14001:2015 resources and how they can apply to your organisation.
You are in control
What is important is that you are in control of your final year of ISO 14001:2004 certification and how you can transition to the new version – ISO 14001:2015.
You will have been successfully certified to ISO 14001:2004 in the past because you are the best person to understand your organisation and its environmental issue. Now, you should be able to meet the new requirements of ISO 14001:2015 by keeping a clear head.
Just take a deep breath, review your current Environmental Management System (EMS) against the new requirements, see where the gaps are, make a plan including resources and responsible personnel and then make the changes & check against your plan to make sure everything is in-place.
2. Start with a plan and the resources to make the changes to your EMS.
Understand external timescales
If you are just waking up to the final transitional year and have done nothing then it is important to understand the external constraints.
It is important to have a dialogue with your current certification body, they may have final deadlines ahead of 14 September 2018. This is because, after your audit, there are reviews and independent certification decisions that must take place before the issue of your new ISO 14001:2015 certificate.
Similarly, if you use an external consultant understand their constraints as they may have a number of clients, who need support to meet the requirements of ISO 14001:2015 over the coming year.
You may need to lock-in the consultancy or certification body audits in advance to secure a timetable that will work with your plan.
3. Be mindful, of the constraints of your certification body and external consultant & plan for a successful transition audit.
With a clear focus on the three points above, there is no reason why your move to ISO 14001:2015 should not be smooth and successful this year.