EMS Certification

When most organizations consider the use of ISO management systems, they do so within the context of third-party certification programs. This page provides additional information about certification to ISO 14001 in the following areas –

Certification Benefits

There are several benefits associated with certification to ISO 14001. Some of these benefits include –

  • Improved compliance with legal requirements
  • Having a competitive advantage in obtaining contracts
  • Ability to evaluate the environmental performance of supply chain partners
  • Improving internal awareness and discipline in achieving improved environmental performance
  • Integration of management system processes across business functions

The most objective information about the potential value of ISO 14001 to users is provided in the results of a survey conducted and published by ISO in 2012. According to ISO’s website, this survey generated over 5,000 responses from organizations in 110 countries, with the majority being from organizations that used ISO 14001 for their environmental management system.

This survey asked questions about the value of ISO 14001 to both environmental management and business management. The primary value indicated for environmental management was the ability of the organization to meet legal requirements. The primary business management value was the ability to meet stakeholder requirements (i.e. contractual certification requirements).

Click here to download a two-page summary of the results of this user survey.

Certification Costs

There are three categories of costs associated with certification to ISO 14001 –

  1. Cost of preparing for certification – the cost of establishing and implementing a management system that conforms to the standard
  2. Cost of obtaining certification – the money paid to a registrar to get certified
  3. Cost of maintaining certification – this includes the cost of addressing issues identified as nonconformities during certification audits

The revision of ISO 14001 will increase certification costs in all three categories.

Want to learn more?

The ENLAR ISO 14001 Transition Assessment Tool provides additional guidance to help you calculate the likely certification costs that will be associated with certification to ISO 14001:2015.

Certification Options

There is no ISO requirement for third-party certification. ISO 14001 can be used by organizations who simply want to use some, or all, of the clauses of the standard for improving their environmental management system. The standard can be used as the basis for self-certification or unaccredited certification, as well as for certification by a registrar that is accredited under the accreditation scheme established pursuant to the ISO CASCO standards (i.e. accredited certification).

When “ISO 14001 certification” is discussed, it generally refers to accredited certification. There are several accreditation bodies across the world. In the United States, the accreditation body used by most registrars is the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (often referred to as ANAB).

Want to learn more?

The ENLAR ISO 14001 Transition Assessment Tool provides more information about evaluating you certification options (self-certification, unaccredited certification and accredited certification) and the costs that will be associated with making the transition to ISO 14001:2015.

Page last updated 07/23/2015

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FREE ISO 14001:2015 Documentation Guide

Want to know more about the documentation requirements in ISO 14001:2015? If so, click here.

Risk Management Requirements

Interested in learning more about the requirements in ISO 14001:2015 related to addressing "risks and opportunities"?

If so, click here.

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