How to develop and maintain an ISO 14001 Environmental
Management System faster, better, and smarter
With growing concerns about climate change and sustainability, more attention is now being paid to how business
activities impact on the environment. Companies and other organisations are responding in various ways. Perhaps
the most tangible evidence of an organisation's environmental focus and effort is to have a management system
based on the ISO 14001 international standard.
ISO 14001 sets out requirements for an effective Environmental Management System (EMS). It is designed to help
your organisation systematically reduce its environmental impact, while still working towards other corporate
objectives (such as service delivery and profitability).
Developing your system can be quite a major project. Like any such project, it may at first appear to be daunting
and too complex to get a firm grip on. However, it can be more easily managed by being divided into bite-sized
pieces. The following is an example of how that can be done. Initially the project is divided into 5 stages:
Organisations have traditionally developed control measures to meet applicable legal, regulatory and contractual
requirements. There is a trend towards greater 'systemisation' and basing the system on the ISO 14001 standard.
Of course, you still need to meet those legal, regulatory and contractual requirements. The intention of a
standards-based system is to provide a solid base for your organisation to consistently comply with them - now
and into the future.
There are a number of development options available to you, and each has its own particular advantages. The
development option that you choose will affect your method of system development. Consultants and other
sources of external help will have their own standard methodologies. The options include:
A Gap Analysis and Project Plan may be prepared to guide and record progress.
The documentation stage may include preparing:
• Project-specific plans
• An aspects and impact register
• A register of statutory and regulatory requirements
• and other documents
Documenting a system from scratch can take up a great deal of time – particularly if it’s a task that you are not
used to. However, remember that the documentation should be appropriate to the nature of your organisations’
activities and the environmental impacts associated with its operations.
Of course, documents only form a part of a system. They are a means to an end - not an end in themselves.
People, their commitment, and the training / resources / methods they are provided with are vitally important.
To be of maximum true value, your system needs the broad support of people within your organisation. This is
often best achieved with a softly, softly approach - consultation, communication, then participation in introducing
Results should be monitored, and the system fine-tuned as you go.
Following the principle of the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle, having planned our system and put it into practice,
we need to check or verify that it is working effectively.
All control systems need feedback mechanisms to help their controllers keep the system on track. Management
systems are no exception, and internal audits are their key feedback mechanism. To illustrate the importance of
internal audits, they are a mandatory requirement of the ISO 14001 standard. They audits offer a very beneficial
and low-cost method to help your organisation maintain compliance, and achieve its objectives. There are also
other aspects of verification, including measurement and monitoring, surveys, and periodic review by top
For a new system, or one that has had a major upgrade, it would be good practice to audit the system thoroughly
after quite a brief period of implementation. It is quite likely that a little bit of fine-tuning to your system will be
necessary. After that, your audit schedule may be on a risk basis - with those processes that are most important or
that have had problems in the past being audited more regularly than others. You may also choose to have an
external audit of your system by a Certification body or Registrar.
Results of audits and other verification techniques should be fed back to the management Review process, for top
management to consider progress, and plan any remedial action or perhaps set new objectives.
Introducing Qudos 3
Qudos 3 software provides a task-based, modular approach - Helping you set up your system quickly and run it
cost-effectively. Its combination of web and SQL database technology offers multi-site/off-site capability to:
|• Plan Objectives/targets and how they will be achieved
• Document policies, procedures, forms etc. with our huge library of
samples and templates
• Make documents easily accessible over your intranet or internet – with
powerful search facilities to find the right document quickly and
• Plan and record document reviews and revisions
• Schedule and record internal audits
• Schedule and record equipment checks and calibration
• Plan and record minutes of management review and other
meetings, and distribute them
• Maintain records of environmental training
• Assess performance of your environmental management activities -
or those of your suppliers / contractors
• Consider and evaluate aspects and impacts
• Record nonconformances, issues, customer complaints and
• Plan preventive / corrective / improvement action and then
assign, record and track those actions
• Remind people about tasks that are due / overdue with automated
• Generate pie charts, bar charts and tabular reports
• Escalate overdue actions
Qudos 3 includes an integrated Enviro Manager Toolkit – packed with sample documents, training materials
and other resources. Qudos 3 offers a comprehensive suite of tools to help you develop and maintain a
management system that complies with ISO 14001 faster, better, and smarter.
With its modular design, high level of user-configuration, robust SQL database and web technology, Qudos 3 offers
the power of integration of:
• Your key activities for addressing the standard
• Similar activities for other standards and compliance issues (OHSAS 18001 or AS/NZS 4801 Health &
Safety / ISO 9001 Quality etc.)
• Activities relating to one or many sites
The tools are here right now to help you make an immediate start on developing faster, better, smarter
management system. Qudos 3 is available as Self-hosted server-based software, or cloud hosted with fully licenced
or leased options.
Gap analysis, coaching, training and system development / maintenance services are also available from Qudos
and its partners. Contact us to find out more.
Qudos Management Pty. Ltd.
Quality | Health & Safety | Environmental management
36/71 Eagle Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000
Tel: +61 (07) 3121 3200