• ISO55001 Asset Management
    System (AMS)
  • ISO9001 Quality Management
    Systems (QMS)
  • ISO14001 Environmental Management
    Systems (EMS)
  • ISO50001 Energy Management
    Systems (EnMS)
  • ISO45001 Health & Safety Management
    Systems (OHASMS)
  • ISO27001 Information security
    management systems (ISMS)

ISO14001 Updated Standards: A Powerful Tool for Tackling Climate Change

07 Apr 2024



ISO 14001, an internationally recognised standard for Environmental Management Systems (EMS), empowers businesses to effectively identify, measure, and regulate their environmental impacts. Its widespread applicability across organisations of various sizes and sectors underscores its pivotal role in tackling key environmental concerns, such as air and water management, waste disposal, and notably, climate change mitigation. Consequently, ISO 14001 and associated auditing practices emerge as essential instruments in the strategic response to climate change, underscoring their significance in the contemporary environmental landscape. Notably, the upcoming changes to ISO 14001 are expected in 2024/25.

Clauses 4.1 and 4.2, emphasise the imperative of understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties to recognise climate change, and to outline how an organisation will meet such expectations.

ISO 14001, an international standard for Environmental Management Systems (EMS), equips businesses to identify, measure, and control their environmental impacts efficiently [1]. With its broad applicability across organisations of all sizes and types, ISO 14001 plays a crucial role in addressing critical environmental issues, including air and water management, waste management, and, notably, climate change mitigation [1]. As such, ISO 14001 and auditing practices become indispensable tools in the strategic response to climate change, highlighting their relevance in the current environmental landscape.

The urgency for deploying ISO 14001 has intensified, especially with UN scientists warning of a narrow window — merely a decade — to mitigate climate change effectively [2]. This highlights the critical role of ISO 14001:2015, with its emphasis on life cycle thinking and streamlined integration into existing management systems through Annex SL [2], in helping organisations pivot towards more sustainable operational modalities. Through strategic objectives and compliance with ISO 14001, businesses can not only address regulatory demands but also illustrate their commitment to environmental stewardship and climate action.

Understanding ISO 14001 and Its Purpose

ISO 14001 emphasises the critical need for organisations to adapt to environmental changes, including those resulting from climate change. This standard not only addresses the direct impacts of climate change but also extends its focus to other significant environmental consequences such as loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services [3][6].

Key Features of ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems

  • Adaptation and Mitigation: It schematically links key clauses to climate change mitigation and adaptation, guiding organisations through the process of addressing these challenges within their management systems [3].
  • Holistic Environmental Management: ISO 14001 encompasses a broad spectrum of environmental issues, including but not limited to air pollution, water and sewage management, and waste management. This comprehensive approach ensures that organisations can effectively manage their environmental footprint while also addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation [1].
  • Strategic Environmental Management: The standard supports strategic environmental management, aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to climate change. It requires organisations to develop strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to prepare for the impacts of climate change, thus contributing to global efforts in combating climate change [6][7].

Implementing ISO 14001 enables organisations to identify and manage their environmental risks and opportunities, thereby fostering sustainable operations and contributing to global climate action efforts [4].

Benefits of ISO 14001 for Climate Change Mitigation

ISO 14001 updated standards significantly enhances an organisation’s ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change. This updated standard provides a comprehensive framework that encourages businesses to identify, assess, and manage their environmental impacts, including those related to climate change. Here are key benefits:

Framework for GHG Management:


ISO 14001, along with ISO 14007 and ISO 14008, aids organisations in valuing and determining the costs associated with greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This evaluation supports strategic decisions on actions for climate change adaptation, balancing cost and benefit effectively [3][6].

Supporting Global Climate Goals:


By aligning with the Paris Agreement objectives to limit global temperature rise, ISO 14001 equips organisations with the necessary tools to contribute to these international targets. The standard encourages the development of strategies to reduce GHG emissions and incorporate climate risk assessments into business operations [5].

Enhanced Environmental Performance and Compliance:


Implementing ISO 14001 leads to improved environmental performance, offering a pathway to significant cost savings through increased resource efficiency. Furthermore, it boosts an organisation’s reputation and strengthens stakeholder confidence by demonstrating a committed approach to managing environmental impacts and adhering to international standards [18][20].

These benefits collectively enable organisations to play a pivotal role in the global effort to combat climate change, showcasing the critical importance of ISO 14001 in fostering sustainable business practices.

Implementing ISO 14001 in Your Organisation

Implementing ISO 14001 within an organisation involves a structured approach that enhances environmental performance and promotes sustainable practices. Here’s a step-by-step guide to effectively incorporate ISO 14001:

Initial Steps:

  • Obtain management support to ensure the commitment at all levels [17].
  • Identify legal requirements and define the scope of the Environmental Management System (EMS) [17].
  • Define EMS procedures and processes and implement them across the organisation [17].

Engagement and Certification:

  • Conduct training and raise awareness among employees to foster an environmentally responsible culture [17].
  • Choose a suitable certification body for the EMS and prepare for the certification audit, which is conducted in two stages: a review of the organisation’s documentation followed by an on-site audit [17].

Continuous Improvement:

  • Operate the EMS, measure performance, and keep accurate records to track progress [17].
  • Perform internal audits and management reviews to identify areas for improvement [17].
  • Implement corrective actions based on audit findings and incorporate continual improvement into the EMS to adapt to organisational changes and evolving environmental standards [17][18].

By following these steps, organisations can not only achieve ISO 14001 certification but also realise benefits such as reduced costs, increased stakeholder engagement, and enhanced reputation, thereby strengthening their market position [7][8]. Implementing ISO 14001 requires commitment from the entire business, effective communication, and regular reviews to ensure the EMS remains effective and aligned with organisational goals and environmental regulations [21].

The Future of Environmental Management and ISO 14001

The future of environmental management and ISO 14001 is poised for significant advancements, driven by technological innovation and the evolving landscape of global environmental challenges. Key developments include:

  • Integration of Advanced Technologies:
    • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning: These technologies will revolutionise EMS software by enabling predictive analytics and automation, facilitating smarter decision-making based on real-time data [23].
    • Internet of Things (IoT): The use of connected devices and sensors will provide real-time environmental data collection and transmission, enhancing the management of energy consumption and ISO 14001 standards compliance [23].
    • Blockchain: This technology will ensure the integrity of environmental data, bolstering trust and adherence to ISO 14001 requirements [23].
    • Software Enhancements for User Accessibility:
    • Intuitive Interfaces: EMS software will become more user-friendly, making it accessible to a broader audience regardless of technical expertise [23].
    • Mobile Accessibility: The availability of specialised applications for mobile devices will enable on-the-go monitoring and management of environmental data, ensuring continuous compliance with ISO 14001 standards [23].
  • Strategic Environmental Management Tools:
    • Carbon Footprint Measurement: EMS software will include tools for identifying major sources of emissions and developing targeted reduction strategies, supporting the ESG agenda and compliance management [23].
    • ESG Metrics Integration: A broader view of an organisation’s sustainability performance will be provided through the incorporation of ESG metrics into EMS, aligning with the growing legislative burden and enhancing company image and brand [8][23].

These advancements, combined with the ongoing projects related to ISO 14001, such as the ISO 14002 series and the ISO 14001:2015 amendment, signify a forward-looking approach to environmental management, ensuring organisations are well-equipped to meet the challenges of climate change and sustainability [3].


Through this article, we have explored the ISO 14001 standard and its pivotal role in equipping organisations to effectively manage their environmental impacts with a particular focus on climate change mitigation. The significance of the ISO 14001:2015 and the upcoming ISO 14001:2023 Amendment 1, have been highlighted, emphasising a strategic approach towards environmental stewardship and sustainability. Implementing ISO 14001 not only enables businesses to address regulatory demands but also to illustrate their commitment towards a sustainable future, showcasing the standard’s crucial role in the global fight against climate change.

As organisations prepare for the transition to the updated ISO 14001standards, it becomes imperative to understand the comprehensive framework provided for managing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change. The integration of specialised compliance software like www.isocomply.co.uk, which assists in managing environmental impacts and enhancing the efficiency of environmental management systems, signifies a step towards robust environmental stewardship.

Emphasising the importance of non-UKAS certification for SMEs and micro-businesses, provides an avenue for these entities to demonstrate their commitment to environmental management without the high costs associated with certification. This forward-looking approach underscores the necessity for continuous improvement, strategic planning, and the integration of innovative tools to better manage environmental responsibilities and contribute to a sustainable future.


What is the purpose of ISO 14001?

ISO 14001 is a globally recognised standard that outlines the criteria for an environmental management system (EMS). Its primary purpose is to assist organisations in enhancing their environmental performance. This is achieved by encouraging more efficient resource use and waste reduction, which not only helps the environment but also provides organisations with a competitive edge and builds trust among stakeholders.

How does ISO 14001 serve as a strategic tool?

ISO 14001, along with the broader ISO 14000 family of standards, offers a strategic framework for addressing environmental issues. It is the most well-known standard for environmental management systems (EMS), providing organisations with a systematic approach to managing their environmental impacts.

What are the main types of ISO 14001 certification?

There are two principal forms of ISO 14001 certification: one that certifies an organisation’s environmental management system against the ISO 14001 standards, and another that certifies individuals to audit against the ISO 14001 standards. Both types of certification play a crucial role in ensuring effective environmental management practices.

How does ISO 14001 benefit organisations in managing their environmental impact?

Implementing ISO 14001 leads to significant advantages in environmental management. The key benefits include a marked improvement in environmental performance, characterized by reduced waste production, lower resource consumption, and decreased emissions of pollutants. This contributes to a smaller environmental footprint for the organization.


[1] – https://www.iso.org/iso/introduction_to_iso_14001.pdf
[2] – https://www.qse-academy.com/important-role-of-iso-14001-in-global-warming/
[3] – http://committee.iso.org/sites/tc207sc1/home/projects/ongoing/supporting-environmental-and-bus/climate-change-and-iso-1.html
[4] – https://info.degrandson.com/blog/iso-14001-net-zero
[5] – https://committee.iso.org/files/live/sites/tc207sc1/files/ISO%2014001%20and%20climate%20change%20edits%20following%20comments%20071216%20ntc.pdf
[6] – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-iso-14001-can-help-you-tackle-climate-change-lawson-cqp-mcqi
[7] – https://aqmauditing.com/iso-14001-climate-change-addressing-the-impact-of-your-business-operations/
[8] – https://isoqar.com/resources/blog/an-introduction-to-the-iso-14001-environmental-management-system-and-why-its-time-has-come/
[9] – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/future-trends-environmental-management-complete-roadmap-das
[10] – https://www.iso.org/iso/iso_14001_-_key_benefits.pdf
[11] – https://asq.org/quality-resources/iso-14001
[12] – https://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/iso-14001.asp
[13] – https://www.iso.org/standard/60857.html
[14] – https://advisera.com/14001academy/what-is-iso-14001/
[15] – https://stendard.com/en-sg/iso-14001/
[16] – https://www.nqa.com/en-us/certification/standards/iso-14001
[17] – https://advisera.com/14001academy/knowledgebase/list-of-iso-14001-implementation-steps/
[18] – https://www.qas-international.com/2023/06/how-to-implement-an-iso-14001-environmental-management-system-in-a-manufacturing-environment/
[19] – https://www.4cstrategies.com/news/iso-14001-climate-mitigation-strategies/
[20] – https://www.quora.com/What-is-ISO-14001-How-can-it-be-implemented-in-a-company-What-are-the-steps-to-take-to-ensure-successful-implementation
[21] – https://www.bsigroup.com/en-US/ISO-14001-Environmental-Management/Implementing-ISO-14001/
[22] – https://www.nqa.com/en-us/certification/standards/iso-14001/implementation
[23] – https://www.effivity.com/blog/future-trends-on-environment-management-software/

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