by Brittany Tofinchio Palmer
A complimentary standard to ISO 14001:2015 was published on March 1, 2016. ISO 14004:2016, titled Environmental Management Systems – General Guidelines and Implementation, aims to provide guidance to organizations in the areas of implementing, maintaining, and improving an environmental management system (EMS) to make it more credible and reliable. An EMS is intended to enhance environmental performance, achieve environmental objectives, and help organizations comply with regulatory obligations.
ISO 14004:2016 is an updated version of the 2004 guidance. It provides several changes, which include: focusing on environmental performance and protection, enhancing the life-cycle perspective, and strengthening approaches on leadership and environmental management strategies. Specific details and information that pertain to ISO 14001:2015 have also been included.
In addition, important modifications have been made to Annex A, and a new Annex B has been added. In the 2004 version, Annex A contained examples of correspondence between environmental management system elements. In the new version, examples of activities, products, and services, along with their associated aspects, impacts and risks have been provided. Annex B allows for a smoother transition between ISO standards by providing a phased approach, using the principles in ISO 14005:2010, for EMS implementation. ISO 14005:2010 provides guidelines for the phased implementation of an EMS.
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