Survey of ISO 14001 users

The survey questionnaire included questions related to the perceived value of the ISO 14001 standard for both business management and environmental management, and the extent to which ISO 14001 should address or strengthen attention to future challenges for environmental management systems

The survey was issued in 2013 in 11 languages through national member bodies, and garnered an unprecedented response with close to 5000 participants in 110 countries worldwide.  

Summary of benefits based on survey responses

For environmental management, responses from users suggest that organizations have realized significant value from ISO 14001 in terms of meeting legal requirements, improving environmental performance, and enhancing management commitment and stakeholder engagement.  Close to 75% of participants indicated ‘high’ or ‘very high’ value for meeting legal requirements and improving the organization’s environmental performance, while more than 60% indicated ‘high’ to ‘very high value’ for management commitment and employee engagement.  Overall, 85% or more indicated at least a moderate value in all categories except improvement in supplier environmental performance.  63% of user responses indicated at least moderate value in this area.


Responses from users also suggest that ISO 14001 has provided considerable value for business management, most notably for meeting stakeholder requirements, improving public image, achieving strategic objectives, and integrating with business management systems. More than half of participants indicated ‘high’ to ‘very high’ value, and more than 80% indicated at least a moderate value in these areas.  Furthermore, 78% and 63% of responses indicated at least a moderate value in terms of providing a competitive advantage and financial benefit, respectively.  

These results correspond with reported motivations for adopting the Standard.  Based on user rankings of factors influencing their adoption of the standard, the strongest environmental drivers for adopting ISO 14001 included commitment to environmental protection/conservation, and reduction of risk of adverse environmental impact.  Primary influences related to business management included customer requirements and public image.  However, while opportunities for integration with other management standards applied by the organization (such as ISO 9001, ISO 50001, ISO 26000, and OHSAS 18001) were not ranked in the top tier as a motivating factor, more than half of user responses indicated high value for business management in this area. 

Demographic details of survey

The summary the following is the demographic details from the survey
Particpants surveyISO 14001 sizesRegion users



Thank you members of  Ad-Hoc Group User Survey

  • Prof. Lisa Greenwood, AHG LEADER/USA;
  • Mrs. Natalia Drault, ARGENTINA;
  • Mrs. Alessandra Miranda de Silva, BRAZIL;
  • Mr. Daniel Trillos, COLOMBIA; 
  • Mr. Bernhard Schwager, GERMANY;
  • Mrs. Maiko Okuno, JAPAN; 
  • Mr. Dick Hortensius, NETHERLANDS; 
  • Prof. Evgeny Avanesov, RUSSIA; 
  • Dr. Ruth Hillary, UK. 

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Nele Zgavc
Nele Zgavc
Committee manager to ISO/TC 207/SC 1

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