ISO 14001:201X Revisions Underway

The ISO 14001 revision process is in full swing. It has been underway now for almost a year and the US Technical Advisory Group (TAG) is currently working on the third committee draft of this popular international standard. In August 2012 we traveled to Washington DC to attend the semiannual meeting of the US TAG where the US team discussed the new compressive reorganization of the ISO 14001 revision required by something called the High Level Structure or Annex SL.

Both ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 will follow the new outline during their revision process. For ISO 14001 wonks out there who really want to get into the weeds on the reorganization of ISO 14001 here is a link to the Annex SL. The text of the HLS is at the end of the document.

Since the August DC meeting a core group of the TAG members has been meeting weekly to prepare comments on the current revision working draft (N_073_ISO_14001_ (E) WD3). The massive reorganization of the standard is the most significant difference people will notice right away when the revised standard in finally issued within the next 12-18 months. Here is a peak at the new high level structure that will be the framework of the ISO 14001:201X revision

Clause 1 – Scope

Clause 2 – Normative references

Clause 3 – Terms and definitions

Clause 4 – Context of the organization

Clause 5 – Leadership

Clause 6 – Planning

Clause 7 – Support

Clause 8 – Operation

Clause 9 – Performance evaluation

Clause 10 – Improvement

Our initial focus was on trying to fit the existing content of ISO 14001:2004 into the new structure. There are areas that fit well and others that don’t. More recently much effort has been invested by the core group discussing revisions to important definitions like “requirement”, “conformity” and “non-conformity”.

One of the additions to the standard we recommended was to include a new definition of the term “Significant Environmental Aspects” (see related post).

Participation on the TAG is rewarding but not without expense. Trips to DC, New Orleans, Sweden, and Botswana to promote the US position are investments in helping make the standard better for everyone. If you or your organizations would like to help support this important work we would welcome your assistance in anyway. You can email us at: or call me (Kevin Lehner) directly at 920-648-4134.


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About Kevin Lehner

Kevin has been president of ECSI for over 25 years. His practice focuses on environmental and health and safety management systems training, consulting and auditing. He is an active member of the US Technical Advisory Committees to ISO 14001 and ISO 45001. He represents that USA at international meetings of these committees. He is also the lead developer of the CorrectTrack corrective action tracking app.