Environmental management system according to ISO 14001

Environmental protection and sustainability are no longer just topics of communication for companies, but also value-adding factors. Consistent compliance with environmental protection guidelines creates real competitive advantages. At the same time, the company fulfills its ecological responsibility. The internationally recognized ISO 14001 standard defines the requirements for such an environmental management system.

Optimization of operational environmental protection

Systematic identification of risks and opportunities

Increased legal certainty and reduced environmental risks

Strengthening of competitiveness

What is environmental management according to ISO 14001?

ISO 14001 is a globally recognized standard for environmental management systems (EMS) that was first published in 1996. The requirements of the standard aim to ensure that companies sustainably promote their operational environmental protection, set their own targets for its implementation and reduce the negative impact of their business operations on the environment - including the life cycle assessment of their products and services.

The standard requirements of ISO 14001 can be applied not only to any company size and industry, but also to different geographical and cultural circumstances. A core area of the standard are the so-called "compliance obligations". These are binding obligations that the certified company determines for itself, based on an assessment of opportunities and risks in relation to environmental aspects, environmental targets and voluntary commitments.

The internationally recognized ISO 14001 standard follows the so-called"High Level Structure" (HLS). This basic structure is based on the uniform use of outlines, terminology and definitions. In this way, ISO 14001 certification can be combined with other certified standards in an integrated management system - for example with ISO 9001 (quality management) or ISO 50001 (energy management). The standard ISO 14001:2015 is available from the ISO website.

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How does ISO 14001 certification benefit which organizations?

ISO 14001 can be implemented regardless of the size and industry sector of a company. Thus, private, non-governmental and non-profit organizations can also benefit from an environmental management system according to ISO 14001. Successful implementation and certification will help your company gain valuable competitive advantages.

These include:

  • Increased customer confidence through reliable environmental management
  • Continuous improvement of your environmental performance
  • Reliable compliance with legal and regulatory requirements through a systematic approach
  • Risk prevention - early identification and minimization of potential hazards
  • Cost reduction through proactive, forward-looking action
  • Saving resources and energy
  • Achieving environmental goals within your company

Currently, around 350,000 companies and organizations around the world have had their environmental management system certified to ISO 14001 (source: ISO Survey 2020).

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Important requirements for ISO 14001 certification

In order for your company or organization to be certified according to ISO 14001:2015, a number of prerequisites must be met. These include, among other things, an environmental policy drawn up by the company's management, which contains a voluntary commitment to environmental protection and the optimization of environmental protection measures within the company.

In addition, your company must identify the legal and regulatory requirements relating to your activities, products and/or services, translate these "obligations to act" into internal instructions, and regularly monitor compliance.

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What are the opportunities and risks associated with ISO 14001?

In order to determine compliance obligations, companies must record risks and opportunities in relation to their environmental performance and environmental aspects. However, the methods used to assess opportunities and risks are up to your company.

However, for a transparent risk classification into "high", "medium" or "low", the established assessment criteria must be objective and comprehensible. Based on the opportunities and risks, companies can use ISO 14001 to determine new fields of action in environmental protection, and develop strategies for dealing with advancing climate change.

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How does the certification according to ISO 14001 work?

When companies apply for certification according to ISO 14001 at DQS, they go through a multi-stage certification process. If a certified management system has already been established, the process can be shortened.

In the first step, we jointly define the goals you associate with the certification of your management system according to ISO 14001. On this basis, you will promptly receive a detailed and transparent offer tailored to your individual needs.

After commissioning, we develop an individual audit program and the audit schedule for all involved company departments and locations. Upon request, we conduct a pre-audit as a first performance evaluation. A DQS auditor will examine whether your environmental management already covers all standard requirements. Both services are optional.

The certification audit starts with a system analysis (audit stage 1) and evaluation of your documentation, objectives, results of your management review and internal audits. In doing so, we determine whether your management system is sufficiently developed and ready for certification.

In the next step (system audit stage 2), your auditor assesses the effectiveness of all management system processes on site based on observations, interviews and reviews. The audit result is presented at a final meeting. If necessary, action plans are agreed upon.

On the basis of the certification audit, an evaluation of your environmental management system takes place, which results in a report. If your company has fulfilled all standard requirements, you will receive the ISO 14001 certificate.

To ensure that your company continues to meet all the important criteria of ISO 14001:2015 after the certification audit, we conduct surveillance audits on an annual basis. This ensures our competent support for the continuous improvement of your management system and your business processes.

A certificate according to ISO 14001 is valid for three years. Before expiry, recertification is carried out in good time. This ensures that all requirements of the standard are met on a permanent basis. If all requirements continue to be met, a new certificate is issued.


What does ISO 14001 certification cost?

Since every company has different requirements and maintains an individual environmental management system, the costs for the audit and certification according to ISO 14001 cannot be quantified across the board. If you would like to have your company or organization certified, we will be happy to make you a customized offer based on an objective assessment and your individual circumstances.


Why DQS?

  • More than twenty years of experience in ISO 14001 certification
  • High level of competence in all current industry sectors of the "European Cooperation for Accreditation (EA)".
  • Value-adding analyses of your environmental management system
  • Personal, smooth support from our specialists - regional, national and international
  • Individual offers with flexible contract periods without hidden costs
  • Accredited certificates with international acceptance
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We would be pleased to provide you with a tailor-made offer for ISO 14001 certification.