ISO 14004 - General guidelines on implementation


Published on 1 March 2016 ISO 14004:2016 provides support for organisations wishing to implement an environmental management system. It includes support for small and medium size companies

What are the changes?

ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 14004:2016 constitute a consistent pair of standards with ISO 14004 providing generic environmental management system (EMS) guidance beyond that applicable to ISO 14001. The changes in ISO 14004 reflect the scope of the revision specifically related to how an organization may choose to maintain and improve an EMS and  implement environmental management requirements into an organization's overall business management system. It also reflect the changes that was agreed in ISO 14001:2015.

Important considerations for the experts in developing the revised ISO 14004 have been:

  • Context of the organization
  • Environmental management and risk assessment
  • Promotion of environmental management through leadership
  • Integration of environmental management into the organization's strategic planning processes
  • Broadening the scope by switching from “prevention of pollution” to “protecting the environment”
  • Increased focus on environmental performance in relation to continual improvement
  • The role of lifecycle perspective
  • Emphasis on external and internal communication
  • Documented information and the differences between procedures and processes.

What was the basis of the revision?

The ISO 14004 revision was agreed by ballot of National Standards Bodies in late 2011. It was initiated six months later than the revision of ISO 14001 to allow ISO 14001 revision to be progressed to a stage where guidance could be developed.

The revision shall:

  • better reflect the title and scope of ISO 14004 in its contents with particular emphasis on:
    1. users' needs
    2. how an organization may maintain and improve an environmental management system (EMS)
    3. implementation of environmental management requirements into the organization's overall management system
  • reflect the text of ISO 14001 as it emerges from its revision
  • contain issues from the“Future Challenges for EMS” Study Group.