Saturday, July 13 2024

ISO 14001 2015 requirements, environmental management systems


Quiz requirements ISO 14001 version 2015

You want to familiarize yourself with the structure of the standard, identify and understand the requirements of ISO 14001 version 2015, then it's up to you to play!


The "ISO 14001 version 2015 Requirements" quiz will help you understand the main requirements of the standard.

The questions (requirements) included in this quiz are 45 of the 180 in the standard, but don't worry. These 45 requirements are among the most important. So do not hesitate to learn in a fun way!

Do not think you can finish this quiz in less than an hour, unless of course you are a little genius!

News on the ISO 14001 version 2015 

The requirements of ISO 14001 can be found in COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) 2017/1505, Annex II part B.

Based on the ISO 14001: 2015 standard and some results of the public inquiry the 180 requirements (verb shall)  in clauses 4 to 10 are as follows:

ISO 14001: 2015 requirements copyleft
PDCA cycle
Requirement No
Context of the organization Plan 1 ÷ 15 15
Leadership PlanDoCheckAct
16 ÷ 35
Planning Plan
36 ÷ 71
Support Do
72 ÷ 104
Operation Do
105 ÷ 122
Performance evaluation Check
123 ÷ 167
Improvement Act
168 ÷ 180


The requirements in clauses and sub-clauses of the ISO 14001: 2015 standard



The PDCA cycle

Remark. Any requirement normally begins with "The organization shall...". For simplicity's sake we present the requirements directly, starting with the verb.

ISO 14001 - Requirements and comments
Clause, sub-clause
Comment, link
Context of the organization
The organization and its context
Determine external and internal issues Understand everything that can influence the purpose, environmental performance and strategic direction of the organization (environmental conditions, corporate culture, compliance obligations, activities, products, services). How the organization can affect its environment
Include environmental conditions All issues that may influence or be influenced by the organization
Needs and expectations of interested parties
4.2 a Determine stakeholders "There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer". Peter Drucker. Understand the environmental perspective of all stakeholders is a prerequisite
4.2 b
Determine the needs and expectations of stakeholders It is the requirements that help us understand what compliance obligations to take into account. Cf. sub-clause 6.1.3
4.2 c
Determiner the compliance obligations Before accepting an order
Scope of the environmental management system
Determine the scope of the EMS Geographic and organizational scope of the EMS
4.3 a
Take into account the external and internal issues Cf. sub-clause 4.1
4.3 b
Take into account the compliance obligations Cf. sub-clause 4.2
4.3 c
Take into account the units, functions and physical boundaries Including subsidiaries when the organization decides to include them in the EMS
4.3 d
Take into account the activities, products and services And the level of control and influence including the life cycle
11 4.3 e Take into account the authority, control and influence of the organization Be realistic
Include in the EMS the scope, the activities, products and services Cf. 6.1.2
13 4.3 Maintain a documented information on the scope Cf. sub-clause 7.5. Scope is available to stakeholders
Environmental management system
Establish, implement, maintain, update and improve the EMS Incorporate the requirements of the EMS in business functions, processes and their interactions
15 4.4 Take into account the context of the organization Integrate issues related to the corporate context. Cf. sub-clauses 4.1 et 4.2
Leadership and commitment
5.1 a
Assume responsibility for the effectiveness of the EMS "When you sweep he stairs, you start at the top". Romanian proverb. Top management demonstrates leadership (assumes its responsibility and commitment)
17 5.1 b Establish an environmental policy and associated objectives The policy and objectives are consistent with the strategic direction and business context 
5.1 c
Integrate EMS requirements in the internal process requirements Cf. sub-clause 4.4
5.1 d
Provide the necessary resources for the EMS And ensure that these resources are really available. Cf. sub-clause 7.1
5.1 e
Raise awareness on the importance of an effective and compliant EMS Cf. sub-clause 7.3
5.1 f
Ensure the achievement of results of the EMS Confirm in the management review (cf. sub-clause 9.3)
5.1 g
Support the staff contribution to the effectiveness of the EMS Thanks to the acquired skills (cf. sub-clause 7.2)
5.1 h
Promote continual improvement Essential commitment of top management (cf. sub-clause 10.3)
5.1 i
Support the leadership of managers Cf. sub-clause 5.3
Environmental policy
5.2 a
Establish, implement and maintain an environmental policy Appropriate for the corporate culture
26 5.2 b Establish, implement and maintain an environmental policy Which provides a framework for establishing environmental objectives. Cf. sub-clause 6.2
27 5.2 c Establish, implement and maintain an environmental policy  Which includes environmental protection commitments (pollution prevention, water quality, air, biodiversity conservation). Be able to adapt to climate change
28 5.2 d Establish, implement and maintain an environmental policy Which includes meeting compliance obligations
29 5.2 e Establish, implement and maintain an environmental policy Which includes the commitment to continual improvement of the EMS. Be able to adapt to climate change, protecting biodiversity and ecosystems. Cf. sub-clause 10.3
30 5.2 Maintain the environmental policy as documented information Cf. sub-clause 7.5
31 5.2 Communicate the environmental policy Internally. Cf. sub-clause 7.4 
32 5.2 Keep the environmental policy available Internally and externally
Roles, responsibilities and authorities
Assign responsibilities and authorities of roles Internally. Clarity of roles, responsibilities and authorities and expected results
5.3 a
Assign responsibilities and authorities  In order to ensure that the EMS meets the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard
5.3 b
Assign responsibilities and authorities  In order to report on the performance of the EMS to top management, cf. sub-clause 9.3
Actions to address risks and opportunities
36 6.1.1 Plan a specific process related to risks In order to determine risks and implement actions (cf. sub-clause 6.1.4)
6.1.1 a, b, c
Take into account context issues, identified requirements and scope of the EMS Cf. sub-clauses 4.14.2 and 4.3)
38 6.1.1 Determine risks and opportunities Which are related to environmental aspects (cf. sub-clause 6.1.2), to compliance obligations (cf. sub-clause 6.1.3) and to issues (cf. sub-clauses 4.14.2)
39 6.1.1 Take into account risks and opportunities To ensure that the EMS can achieve the objectives (cf. sub-clause 6.2), anticipate undesirable effects as external conditions in a continual improvement approach (cf. sub-clause 10.3)
40 6.1.1 Determine potential emergency situations Especially emergency situations with environmental impact (cf. sub-clause 8.2)
41 6.1.1 Retain documented information on risks and opportunities Cf. sub-clause 7.5
42 6.1.1 Retain documented information on risk processes In order to ensure that the results will be as planned. Cf. sub-clause 7.5
Environmental aspects
Determine environmental aspects and impacts Determining which environmental aspects the organization can influence. Including the life cycle. This is a specific EMS process. "To identify aspects is to diminish impacts." The aspect is the cause, the impact is the effect. The life cycle includes mainly:
  • raw materials
  • design and development
  • production
  • delivery
  • use
  • disposal
6.1.2 a
Take into account changes Any change in an activity, product or service
6.1.2 b
Take into account abnormal and emergency situations And the conditions for stopping and starting. Cf. sub-clause 8.2
Determine significant environmental aspects Establish criteria to identify significant aspects. Aspects and activities that can have a significant impact on the environment (thus the risk that the organization may not achieve its environmental objectives) and on which the organization can influence as :
  • design and development
  • manufacturing and storage
  • end of life of products and equipment
  • distribution and transport
  • air emissions
  • releases to water and soil
  • use of raw materials and energy
  • production, management and disposal of waste
Communicate on significant environmental aspects Internally. Cf. sub-clause 7.4
Retain documented information on environmental aspects Including associated impacts. Cf. sub-clause 7.5
Retain documented information on criteria In order to determine which are the significant environmental aspects. Cf. sub-clause 7.5
Retain documented information on significant environmental aspects Cf. sub-clause 7.5
Compliance obligations
51 6.1.3 a Identify compliance obligations of environmental aspects "Nobody is supposed to ignore the law". Latin proverb. Cf. sub-clause 4.2. Compliance obligations can have a negative impact (risk) or a beneficial impact (opportunity)
6.1.3 b
Determine how these obligations apply to the organization Distinguish between mandatory legal requirements (laws, regulations, treaties, permits, licenses, agreements) and obligations to which the organization chooses to adhere (ISO 14001 certification, agreements with stakeholders, voluntary codes of conduct, voluntary labeling, sustainable development commitment)
6.1.3 c
Take into account compliance obligations regarding the EMS During creation, implementation, maintenance and improvement of the EMS
Maintain documented information on compliance obligations Cf. sub-clause 7.5
Planning action
6.1.4 a
Plan environmental actions In order to treat risks, significant environmental aspects and compliance obligations. Cf. sub-clauses and 6.1.3
6.1.4 b
Plan how to implement these actions Integrate these actions in the internal ("business") processes. Establish environmental objectives is one of those actions. Cf. sub-clause 6.2, clauses 78 and sub-clause 9.1)
Plan how to evaluate the effectiveness of these actions Cf. sub-clause 9.1
Take into account the internal conditions Such as technological options, financial and operational conditions
Environmental objectives and planning
Environmental objectives
6.2.1 Establish environmental aspects Consider the significant environmental aspects, compliance obligations and risks and opportunities. Find more information on the definition of environmental indicators in ISO 14031
6.2.1 a Establish environmental aspects Consistent with the environmental policy and the commitment to continual improvement (cf. sub-clause 10.3)
6.2.1 b Establish environmental aspects Measurable, if possible. When it is not realistic to measure an aspect we must be able to explain why
6.2.1 c Establish environmental aspects And monitor them
6.2.1 d Establish environmental aspects And communicate them
6.2.1 e Establish environmental aspects And update them
6.2.1 Retain documented information on environmental objectives Cf. sub-clause 7.5
Planning actions
6.2.2 a Determine actions to implement In order to achieve environmental objectives
6.2.2 b Determine necessary resources Cf. sub-clause 7.1
6.2.2 c  Determine responsibilities Cf. sub-clause 5.3
6.2.2 d Determine deadlines "You can easily ignore instructions without deadline". Jean-François Zobrist
6.2.2 e Determine how to evaluate results Compare results and set objectives (cf. sub-clause 9.1.1). Monitor the progress of the environmental objectives indicators
6.2.2 Take into account the integration of actions in internal processes In order to achieve environmental objectives
 7.1 Provide necessary resources In order to establish, implement and improve the EMS (finances, people, infrastructure, know-how)
73 7.2 a Determine the necessary competence Persons with environmental responsibilities (cf. sub-clause 5.3) and persons whose activities may cause a significant environmental impact (cf. sub-clause 6.1.2)
74 7.2 b Ensure the competence Which is based on training and appropriate experiences
75 7.2 c Identify training needs Training and support (external providers if necessary) on the environmental aspects and the EMS
76 7.2 d Implement actions to acquire the necessary competence Evaluate the effectiveness of the actions
77 7.2 d Retain documented information on the competence of persons Cf. sub-clause 7.5
   7.3 Awareness
78 7.3 a Ensure persons are aware of the environmental policy Including external persons performing work under the organization's control. Cf. sub-clause 5.2
79 7.3 b Ensure persons are aware of the significant environmental aspects and impacts And the impact on the workplace. Cf. sub-clause 6.1.2
80 7.3 c Ensure persons are aware of their contribution In order to improve the performance of the EMS
81 7.3 d Ensure persons are aware of the consequences of not conforming When the EMS requirements are not met including compliance obligations
82 7.4.1 a Plan and implement a communication process - on what "Good news walks, bad news runs". Swedish proverb. Find more information on environmental communication in ISO 14063. Inform and receive information on:
  • the performance of the EMS
  • the significant environmental aspects
  • the compliance obligations
Communication is transparent, in good faith, appropriate, factual and understandable
83 7.4.1 b Plan and implement a communication process - when Quick response to complaints and claims but also to recommendations and proposals for improvement
84 7.4.1 c Plan and implement a communication process - with whom Internally and externally via those responsible for communication (cf. sub-clause 5.3)
85 7.4.1 d Plan and implement a communication process - how In writing, orally, Intranet, Internet, video, presentation, report
86 7.4.1 Take into account compliance obligations Cf. sub-clause 6.1.3
87 7.4.1 Ensure that communication is adequate Communication is clear, transparent, appropriate, factual, in good faith
88 7.4.1 Respond to communications on its EMS When appropriate. Attention because "Too much communication kills communication"
89 7.4.1 Retain documented information on communication Cf. sub-clause 7.5
Internal communication
90 7.4.2 a Communicate changes to the EMS At all levels
91 7.4.2 b Ensure that communication contributes to continual improvement A person informed and aware is much more committed to improvement activities, cf. sub-clause 10.3
External communication
92  7.4.3 Communicate relevant information on the EMS As defined internally and according to the compliance obligations, cf. sub-clause 6.1.3
Documented information
93  7.5.1 a Include in the EMS the documented information required by the ISO 14001 standard Documented information to be maintained (documented procedures) :
  • scope of the EMS (sub-clause 4.3)
  • environmental policy (sub-clause 5.2)
  • risks and opportunities (sub-clause 6.1.1)
  • environmental aspects (sub-clause 6.1.2)
  • compliance obligations (sub-clause 6.1.3)
  • environmental objectives (sub-clause 6.2.1)
  • process control (sub-clause 8.1)
  • emergency situations (sub-clause 8.2)
Documented information to be retained (records) :
  • competence of persons (sub-clause 7.2)
  • communication (sub-clause 7.4.1)
  • necessary for the effectiveness of the EMS (sub-clause 7.5.1)
  • of external origin (sub-clause 7.5.3)
  • inspection results (sub-clause 9.1.1)
  • evaluation of compliance (sub-clause 9.1.2)
  • audit program and results (sub-clause 9.2.2)
  • conclusions of the management review (sub-clause 9.3)
  • nonconformities, corrective actions and results (sub-clause 10.2)
94   7.5.1 b Include the documented information determined as necessary for the effectiveness of the EMS The aim is to ensure thanks to an appropriate documentation system an adequate and effective EMS. "Spoken words fly away, written ones stay". Latin proverb
Creating and updating
95  7.5.2 a Identify and describe the documented information Codification, title, author, subject, product
96  7.5.2 b Choose format and media of the documented information Language, graphics, paper, electronic
97  7.5.2 c Review and approve the adequacy of the documented information Who verifies, who approves
Control of documented information
98 7.5.3 a  Control the availability of the documented information Where and when required in a form that is suitable for use 
99 7.5.3 b Control the protection of the documented information Loss of confidentiality, loss of integrity, misuse 
100 7.5.3 Control the distribution, access and use of the documented information Who is responsible, method to use, rule to follow
101 7.5.3 Control the storage of the documented information Including protection
102 7.5.3 Control the changes of the documented information Use updated versions, limited access to outdated versions
103 7.5.3 Control the retention and disposition of the documented information Retention period, disposal method
104 7.5.3 Control the documented information of external origin Unique codification, access, protection
Operational planning and control
105  8.1 Plan and control the processes needed to meet the requirements of the EMS Cf. sub-clauses 6.1 and 6.2. Including process criteria
106  8.1 Implement the processes according to the criteria In order to avoid gaps with the policy, objectives and compliance obligations
107  8.1 Control planned and unintended changes Analysis of the consequences of unforeseen changes and if necessary actions to reduce impacts
108  8.1 Control the outsourced processes And ensure they can be influenced
109  8.1 Define the degree of influence over outsourced processes The level of environmental influence of outsourced processes is defined in the EMS. This level may be high but also low but the responsibility for meeting the requirements is owned by the organization
110  8.1 a Establish the necessary control means In relation with every phase of the life cycle
111  8.1 b Determine the environmental requirements of purchased goods and services In order to take into account the environmental requirements in all activities of the organization. Take into account:
  • environmental aspects and impacts, cf. sub-clause 6.1.2 
  • risks and opportunities, cf. sub-clause 6.1.1
  • compliance obligations, cf. sub-clause 6.1.3
112  8.1 c Communicate the environmental requirements to external providers Of products and their life cycle. Cf. sub-clause 7.4
113  8.1 d Provide information on potential significant environmental impacts During the delivery, use and end of product life 
114  8.1 Maintain documented information on operational control To prove that the processes were carried out as planned and that products and services are compliant. Cf. sub-clause 7.5 
Emergency preparedness and response
115  8.2 Maintain the process to prevent emergency situations In order to respond to emergencies take into account what is identified in sub-clause 6.1.1. Use the most appropriate methods
116 8.2 a Plan your response to emergency situations Be well prepared to reduce environmental impacts. Update evacuation routes. Maintain a list of people and relief agencies to contact with details (firefighters, clean-up service). Foresee mutual assistance with neighbour
117 8.2 b Know how to respond to real emergencies And communicate upstream internally and externally. Cf. sub-clause 7.4
118 8.2 c Undertake actions to reduce potential environmental impacts The actions are proportional to the gravity of the emergencies and are specific to the situation
119 8.2 d Periodically test how to respond to emergencies Train staff to respond to emergencies and when possible simulate an emergency
120 8.2 e Periodically review the "prevent emergency situations" process And update as necessary especially after real emergencies
121 8.2 f Communicate the "prevent emergency situations" process to stakeholders Information and even relevant training courses, appropriately
122 8.2 Maintain documented information on emergency situations In order to ensure that the process will be carried out as planned. Cf. sub-clause 7.5
Performance evaluation
Monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation

123 9.1.1 Determine what is necessary to inspect Monitor, measure, analyse and regularly evaluate the environmental performance to achieve environmental objectives. "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it". Peter Drucker
124 9.1.1  a Determine risky operations Monitor and measure activities that can have a significant environmental impact
125 9.1.1 b Determine the methods to be used Choose the inspection method
126 9.1.1 c Determine the criteria and indicators To evaluate the environmental performance use appropriate indicators arising from the environmental objectives (cf. sub-clause 6.2.1)
127 9.1.1 d Determine when to inspect Monitor and measure the essential steps that can have a significant environmental impact in relation to the analysis and evaluation
128 9.1.1 e Determine when to analyse and evaluate In order to ensure the validity of results (measurements are reliable and reproducible). The results are transmitted to those responsible to take action
129 9.1.1 Ensure that the equipment is calibrated or verified The use and maintenance of equipment is appropriate and consistent for reliable and reproducible results
130 9.1.1 Evaluate the organization's environmental performance The results of analysis and evaluation are reliable and reproducible. These results are inputs for the management review (see sub-clause 9.3) on the effectiveness of the EMS. More details on the evaluation of the environmental performance can be found in ISO 14031
131 9.1.1 Communicating on environmental performance Internally and externally and in accordance with the obligations (compliance). Cf. sub-clause 7.4 and sub-clause 6.1.3
132 9.1.1 Retain documented information on inspection, analysis and evaluation results Cf. sub-clause 7.5
Evaluation of conformance
133 9.1.2 Plan and implement the process evaluate the state of compliance obligations Periodically review all compliance obligations through :
  • visits
  • inspections
  • interviews
  • project reviews
  • sample review
134 9.1.2 a Determine when to evaluate conformity The evaluation frequency is appropriate
135 9.1.2 b Evaluate the conformity And if necessary take action to restore compliance to the legal obligation
136 9.1.2 c Maintain the state of compliance obligations Maintain regulatory watch
137 9.1.2 Retain documented information on the results of compliance obligations Cf. sub-clause 7.5
Internal audit
138 9.2.1 a 1 Conduct planned regular internal audits In order to determine whether the EMS conforms to internal requirements of the organization. Find more information about internal audit in ISO 19011.
139 9.2.1 a 2 Conduct planned regular internal audits In order to determine whether the EMS conforms to the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard
140 9.2.1 b Conduct planned regular internal audits In order to determine whether the EMS is efficient and updated
Internal audit program
141 9.2.2 Plan, establish, implement and update an audit program Include the frequency, methods, responsibilities and accountability of results. Take into account:
  • the importance of processes for the environment
  • the actions to address the significant environmental aspects
  • the compliance obligations
  • the results of inspections
  • the emergency situations
  • the risks
  • the opportunities
142 9.2.2 Take into account the environmental importance of processes Do not forget:
  • the changes having taken place
  • the results of internal and external previous audits
  • the effectiveness of actions implemented
143 9.2.2 a Define the scope and audit criteria Limit the area to be audited; use specific and known criteria by the auditee
144 9.2.2 b Select auditors Do not audit your department. "No one is judge in his own case". Latin proverb
145 9.2.2 c Communicate audit results to top management Consider any found nonconformity as an improvement opportunity Cf. sub-clause 7.4
146 9.2.2 Retain documented information on audit program and audit reports Cf. sub-clause 7.5 
Management review
147 9.3 Perform the management review at least once a year To confirm that the EMS is still relevant (EMS entered the corporate culture), adequate (meeting the requirements of ISO 14001) and effective (achieved the desired results). "No system is perfect"
148 9.3 a Take into account the state of actions from the previous review Results and their effectiveness
149 9.3 b 1 Take into account the changes in external and internal issues for the EMS Cf. sub-clause 4.3
150 9.3 b 2 Take into account the state of compliance obligations And requirements of the stakeholders. Cf. sub-clause 4.2 and sub-clause 6.1.3
151 9.3 b 3 Take into account the changes in significant environmental aspects Cf. sub-clause 6.1.2
152 9.3 b 4 Take into account the changes in risks and opportunities Cf. sub-clause 6.1.1
153 9.3 c Take into account the state of environmental objectives Cf. sub-clause 6.2.1
154 9.3 d 1 Take into account the information on trends in nonconformities This is part of the environmental performance. Including corrective actions (cf. sub-clause 10.2)
155 9.3 d 2 Take into account the information on trends in inspection results The monitoring and measurement of environmental performance. Cf. sub-clause 9.1.1
156 9.3 d 3 Take into account the information on trends in the state of compliance obligations Cf. sub-clause 6.1.3
157 9.3 d 4 Take into account the information on trends in audit results Cf. sub-clause 9.2
158 9.3 e Take into account the availability of resources Cf. sub-clause 7.1
159 9.3 f Take into account the feedback from stakeholders Including complaints, suggestions and recommendations
160 9.3 g Take into account the emerged improvement opportunities Cf. sub-clause 10.3
161 9.3 Include the conclusions on the state of the EMS in the outputs of the management review This is an essential point of the management review. What we can learn about the relevance, suitability and effectiveness of the EMS
162 9.3 Include the decisions on improvement opportunities in the outputs of the management review Cf. sub-clause 6.2.2
163 9.3 Include the decisions on the possible changes to the EMS in the outputs of the management review Including new resource needs
164 9.3 Include the decisions on actions to implement to achieve objectives in the outputs of the management review Cf. sub-clause 10.2 and corrective actions to be carried out
165 9.3 Include the opportunities to integrate the EMS with internal processes in the outputs of the management review The aim is to improve the implementation of the EMS
166 9.3 Include the possible change in the organization's strategic direction in the outputs of the management review Priority and responsibility of top management at the highest level
167 9.3 Retain the documented information on the conclusions of the management review Cf. sub-clause 7.5
168 10.1 Determine improvement opportunities and implement appropriate actions Including every innovation. Cf. sub-clauses and 10.3
Nonconformity and corrective action
169 10.2 a 1 React to the nonconformity and correct it Carry out a corrective action
170 10.2 a 2 Reduce negative environmental impacts Take into account the context of the organization (cf. sub-clause 4.1) and perform actions to address the risks (cf. sub-clause 6.1)
171 10.2 b 1 Evaluate whether action is needed by performing a nonconformity review The goal is to find and eliminate the root causes and prevent a recurrence of the nonconformity
172 10.2 b 2 Investigate the root causes Realize an analysis of the root causes
173 10.2 b 3 Find if similar nonconformities have been listed If so draw conclusions with appropriate actions
174 10.2 c Implement the necessary actions To prevent a recurrence of the nonconformity
175 10.2 d Review the effectiveness of the corrective action To check if the action is finalized
176 10.2 e Make changes to the EMS If needed
177 10.2 Choose corrective actions proportionate to the importance of the nonconformities Including environmental impacts
178 10.2 Retain documented information on the nature of nonconformities And actions carried out. Cf. sub-clause 7.5
179 10.2 Retain documented information on the results of the corrective actions Cf. sub-clause 7.5. Actions, results and review of the effectiveness of actions
Continual improvement
180  10.3 Improve continually the environmental performance of the EMS With beneficial action to the EMS, processes and environment-related activities