ISO 14001:2015 FAQs

Q: When was the new version of the ISO 14001 finalized?
A: The new version of ISO 14001 is not finalized yet. The anticipated publishing date of the revised standard is September 2015 but that date depends on how successfully the remaining issues are resolved at the April meeting of the ISO 14001 drafting committee. If there are issues that cannot be resolved at that time then the final publication date will be sometime after September. DQS members of the TAG will keep you posted.

Q: How can we know when the document is complete?
A: The DQS website www. will keep customers updated on the status of ISO 14001. In addition, DQS will provide articles and host webinars to alert customers to changes, if any, completion dates and other information on the revised standard.

Q: When can we get a copy of the standard?
A: The DIS version of the standard is already available through American Society for Quality (ASQ) at [email protected] The published final version will be available sometime in September, also at ASQ. Stay tuned to the DQS website, articles and webinars for further and updated information.

Q: Wasn’t there a TC 207 meeting in February? Is there a document showing ISO 14001 revisions?
A: The drafting committee of TC207 Subcommittee 1 met in February to resolve the 300 pages of comments on the DIS version of the standard. They resolved the vast majority of the comments at that time. The next full TC 207 meeting is in the fall. The current document is the DIS version and that contains the revisions as we know them at this point. The DIS is available for purchase through the American Society for Quality (ASQ) at [email protected] Following ISO member body voting on the FDIS version, that will also be available and will contain any updated revisions to the DIS.
In addition, the public can download information on the ISO 14001 revision process off the ISO website at: ember_2014.pdf.

Q: What are the expected changes with the FDIS compared to the DIS?
A: There’s no way to tell for certain at this point, but given the 92% approval of TC national body members at the DIS level, it is realistic to expect that the majority of changes to the standard are already in the DIS version. However, there were a few unresolved comments in February and those were the subject of discussion at the US TAG meeting March 15-17. In addition to resolving the remaining comments from the DIS version, there are a few other issues regarding publication that need resolution. One of these involves translation and working to ensure that the document expresses the same content in the various official languages of ISO. DQS participated in the TAG and will provide further information on this as it becomes known.

Q: Will DQS do any more webinars on ISO 14001 revision?
A: Absolutely! There will be additional webinars on ISO 14001 after the March TAG meeting. These webinars will cover the results of the TAG discussions and there will be several that focus on specific areas of the standard – especially in relationship to auditing. In addition, DQS will provide up-to-date information through Standard Update articles and other publications.

Q: Are the slides going to be available?
A: DQS has posted the entire webinar presentation on the web page:

Q: With the increased focus on compliance will audits need to be handled as attorney client privilege?
A: Attorney-client privilege is an issue that each organization can address for itself. Each organization can assess its compliance risks and evaluate actions as appropriate. The revised standard does not increase an organization’s compliance obligations and yet does clarify how such obligations relate to the environmental management system. Section 4 on organizational context places compliance obligations as a consideration for determining the scope of an organization’s environmental management system. Under Planning in section 6.1.3 the standard requires an organization to identify compliance obligations and determine how they apply to the organization. New section 9 on Performance Evaluation clarifies how the organization must institute a process to evaluate its compliance obligations. (Sec. 9.1.2)

Q: Will chat notes be available?
A: Chat notes themselves are not included but the entire presentation including audio is available on the DQS website. In addition, if there are questions not addressed in this FQ&A, please send them to [email protected].

Q: Is certification required by the revised ISO 14001? What is the benefit to certification if it’s not required?
A: Certification is not required and yet there are a host of benefits to having a DQS certification to ISO 14001 whether you are a small business or a large multi- national corporation. A sampling of the benefits include: increased and improved ability to meet customer, consumer and community demands; competitive advantage; enhanced business profile; more efficient and effective management of costs associated with compliance obligations related to environmental impacts; improved management control of processes associated with environmental impacts both internal and external; reduced redundancies in operations; and many more. For more information, please contact Gary McRae, DQS Program Manager for EHS & Energy at [email protected] or 503-646-3532.

Q: Can you provide an example of a process vs. a procedure?
A: Processes are high-level activities that produce a specific output, such as the management review process. A procedure, for management review, will outline HOW to perform the process – including specific steps to take. Procedure steps may include defining the required inputs for the management review process, assigning responsibility for decisions and what form the outputs may take, such as required records/minutes of this process.

Q: When is the latest we can recertify to ISO14001:2004?
A: Recertification to ISO14001:2004 can occur up to two years after publication of ISO14001:2015. Assuming a publication of September 2015 then the latest certification to ISO14001:2004 would be September 2018. Note, that ISO14001:2004 certificates will expire no later than three years from the 2015 publication date.

Q: Will both ISO9001 and ISO14001 new releases be process focused?
A: Yes. The focus for both standards is expected to be process-based with the goal of achieving desired outcomes of each process.

Q: What will Registrars be looking for with the new requirement to consider life cycle perspective?
A: The release of the FDIS may provide some additional insight into Life Cycle perspective. However, Registrars may seek evidence of an organization considering the components of life cycle in their environmental aspects and impacts evaluations. An organization may do this extensively or it could be to a degree appropriate to show consideration from the extraction of natural resources to the final disposal of materials.

Q: Can an integrated audit be performed for ISO14001:2015 and OHSAS18001?
A: Yes. An integrated audit can still be performed as long as the Organization’s system is ready for an integrated audit, DQS will have auditors qualified to perform integrated audits, in these Standards. The new requirements and structure of ISO14001:2015 are not as well aligned as before but the requirements of OHSAS18001 can be integrated and audited during a regular assessment of conformity.

Q: Are the changes seen in ISO14001:2015 related to regulatory compliance any different?
A: ISO14001:2015 requirements are essentially unchanged. Records of periodic evaluations of compliance are required along with records of actions taken for correction, as applicable. Note, however, that the definition of “compliance obligations” in the DIS includes both regulatory requirements as well as requirements that an organization choses to comply with.

Q: Will internal auditors need training to ISO14001:2015?
A: Requirements of ISO14001:2015 include ensuring that persons are competent on the basis of appropriate education, training or experience. Training is one way to address this requirement where a record of competence could provide objective evidence that a person has completed internal or external training.

Q: Is the identification of environmental aspects and impacts still required under ISO14001:2015?
A: Yes. Section 6.1.2 states these requirements within the defined scope of the management system
and context of the organization.

Q: If an organization is seeking initial certification by the end of 2015 is it recommended that they wait until the new Standard is published to pursue certification under the new Standard?
A: The choice is up to the organization. Considerations of choice may include customer requirements or other interested party concerns. Additionally, the availability of resources to accommodate the new requirements may influence how soon the new requirements are reasonably implemented. The Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) is intended to describe final requirements and generally only editorial or minor changes occur after release of the FDIS. Therefore, with the release of the FDIS, an organization can be reasonably assured that significant changes will not occur. They can then look at addressing any gaps within their existing management system.

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