Main stages of an EMS following the ISO 14001 standard:
1.Commitment and Policy:
Top management commits to perform environmental improvements and determines the organisation’s environmental policy, which will be the foundation of the EMS.
The organisation must first identify the environmental aspects of its operations and determine the most significant ones based on the most important criteria in its organisation’s policy. Once it is done, the organisation needs to set objectives (i.e., an overall environmental goal) and targets (i.e. a detailed/quantified requirement arising from the objectives). Finally, the organisation needs to develop an action plan to meet these targets: responsibilities, schedule, and steps to meet the targets, etc.
The organisation follows the action plan using its resources (financial, human, etc.). During this stage, it is very important to train and raise the awareness of all employees. It is also important to ensure the documentation and follow-up of the operational procedures, and to establish internal and external communication lines.
The organisation must monitor its operations to make sure the targets are reached.
Top management reviews the results of the previous phase. Depending on the results, the action plan is revised to optimize the effectiveness of the EMS. This stage is a loop of continuous improvement for the organisation.
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