How do I implement ISO 14000

How does the introduction of the environmental management system according to ISO 14001 succeed?

Would you like to introduce an environmental management system according to ISO 14001 in your company, but you are not yet exactly sure how the introduction of environmental management ISO 14001 will work? On this page we show you what is important when introducing environmental management ISO 14001 and what you should pay attention to.

The introduction of an environmental management system often poses a major challenge for companies and especially the employees commissioned for this. It is important to first familiarize yourself with the subject matter of an environmental management system and to meet all requirements of the certification standard. In comparison to a QM system, a UM system is often underestimated, especially the recording, review and evaluation of legal obligations and other requirements are a considerable amount of work. Even when setting up the system, mistakes are often made, which are usually difficult to correct afterwards. A systematic procedure with a clear assignment of responsibilities and deadlines can represent a common thread here in order to achieve the goal of successful implementation of a lean, practice-oriented and beneficial EMS in the best possible way. So read on and find out how you can successfully implement ISO 14001 environmental management!

Reasons for introducing environmental management ISO 14001

Every company that is interested in the introduction of environmental management ISO 14001 has a special goal. This can be very different. The sense and understanding of an environmental management system is inextricably linked with the resources available for it. Before defining the resources in terms of personnel, infrastructure and other costs, it is essential to consider the benefits and added value that an EMS represents for the company. However, in order to be able to evaluate this precisely, the company should find out what effort, what costs and what benefits are to be expected.

Information phase in the introduction of environmental management ISO 14001

Information can be obtained in a wide variety of ways. For this purpose, specialist literature can be studied or information events or seminars can be attended. An exchange of information with companies that already have an environmental management system is often suitable in order to obtain an initial overview of the tasks, activities and costs to be derived. The advantages and possibly disadvantages should be weighed and defined in writing in a list of pros and cons.

Decision phase for the introduction of environmental management ISO 14001

After carefully weighing the pros and cons, management must consciously decide for or against the introduction of ISO 14001 environmental management. This decision should be carefully considered because it is not economical to cancel an implementation project that has already started or not to implement it consistently. After the decision for the introduction, the process, responsibilities and deadlines have to be determined in the next steps. In principle, it should also be decided whether the introduction of the environmental management system ISO 14001 should be carried out exclusively with our own employees or with external support. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

A major advantage of external support is that it covers the increased workload in the setup and implementation phase. The increased workload during this time can be cushioned by external consultants so that the operational processes and the permanent work of the internal employees are not disrupted. Also, consultants usually already have in-depth experience with suitable implementation options, so that errors and duplication of work can be avoided during the implementation.

Carrying out an implementation project with internal employees has the advantage that the operating procedures and contact persons are already known. This is particularly advantageous when running integrated management systems. An implementation option that has often proven itself is a mixture of external and internal human resources. Experienced consultants analyze and implement the processes together with the internal employees. In this way, you can design the system in a practice-oriented manner that conforms to standards.

Your entry into environmental management
Classroom training: Visit our Training basic knowledge of environmental management ISO 14001 and get into the basics of environmental management. You will get to know ISO 14001 and learn how to successfully implement its requirements in your UM system.

E-learning course: Alternatively, you can do this training online run as an e-learning course. Save time and learn at your optimal pace. Take a look directly at the here free demo course!

Team building phase when introducing environmental management

After the management has made a conscious decision to introduce ISO 14001 environmental management, the next step is to define the tasks, responsibilities and competencies. Please remember that the introductory phase causes a significantly increased amount of work. All internal employees need the time resources to, on the one hand, integrate the environmental management system according to ISO 14001 in such a way that this can be done without major interruptions if possible, and on the other hand, the "normal work" usually has to continue in parallel without this suffering. It has proven to be worthwhile to take the later environmental management officer, who is specifically responsible for the maintenance and continuous improvement of the system and who has been commissioned by top management, into account right from the start in the development phase.

Even when the processes are recorded and inventoried, information is often obtained that the environmental management officer should know when managing and coordinating the management work later. For this reason, the UMB and its deputy take on a leadership role right at the beginning of the project and agree with the respective superiors of the individual organizational units who should act as contact in which department or which company process in setting up the ISO 14001 environmental management system.

Since not all employees are always informed about the introduction of the environmental management system from the start, a short kick-off event on the topic has proven itself in practice. Here, all employees who can contribute to the success of the project and effective management are briefly explained how the basic idea, the resulting work and the planned process for achieving the goals are. The company management often takes on the introduction and hands it over to the environmental management officer commissioned by the management, who provides the detailed information. This also has a psychological benefit as the leadership represents that it is fully behind the system.

Definition of the environmental policy when introducing environmental management ISO 14001

ISO 14001 roughly demands that the organization must introduce, document, implement, maintain and continuously improve a UM system. Since the management system of the organization must be appropriate, the responsible employees should in the first step define exactly with the management what they want to achieve through the introduction of environmental management ISO 14001. The company management documents the orientation of the environmental management system on the basis of the environmental policy. In the environmental policy they determine which company-specific goals the company would like to achieve, whereby they commit themselves in the environmental policy. The policy should not be too specific, but map the environmentally relevant aspects and the content required by the standard in such a way that all employees can identify with it and thus everyone can apply and implement the specified environmental policy for their specific activities.

Face-to-face training: Visit our Training as environmental management officer ISO 14001 and get to know the tasks and competencies of a UMB. After the training you will be able to look after your UM system on a permanent basis and to successfully develop it further.

Project planning phase for the introduction

The introduction of environmental management ISO 14001 is nothing more than a project and you should treat it the same way. For this purpose, the project management creates a project plan with “milestones” up to when, who is to carry out which work. Please observe a logical and time-optimized sequence in order to use the work and the associated resources as efficiently as possible. After defining the project plan, it makes sense to coordinate it with the management and to have it formally approved by the management.

Since the management must provide the resources for the introduction of environmental management ISO 14001 in accordance with the requirements of the standard, this is also in line with the standard and prevents misunderstandings during implementation. After the start of the environmental management project, the employees involved should hold regular project meetings in which they discuss the current status. Postponements should also be coordinated here, as this often results in postponements for the further course of the project. The following is an exemplary project plan that will make it easier for you to implement ISO 14001 environmental management:

Project plan for the introduction of an environmental management system ISO 14001