How to get ISO 14001 certification?
What are the practical steps to becoming ISO 14001 certified?
There are two types of certification: certification of a company’s environmental management system against the ISO 14001 requirements, and certification of individuals to be able to audit against the ISO 14001 requirements. This section discussed the steps for a company to implement an ISO 14001 environmental management system and have it certified.
ISO 14001 certification for your company involves implementing an EMS based on the ISO 14001 requirements, and then hiring a recognized certification body to audit and approve your EMS as meeting the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard.
Starting with management support and identifying the legal requirements for the EMS, you will need to start with defining your environmental policy, environmental aspects, and environmental objectives and targets, which together define the overall scope and implementation of the environmental management system. Along with these, you will need to create the mandatory and additional processes and procedures necessary for your organization’s operations. There are several mandatory processes that need to be included, and others to be added as the company finds them necessary.
Mandatory steps for finishing implementation and getting certified
After finishing all your documentation and implementing it, your organization also needs to perform these steps to ensure a successful certification:
Internal audit – The internal audit is in place for you to check your EMS processes. The goal is to ensure that records are in place to confirm compliance of the processes and to find problems and weaknesses that would otherwise stay hidden.
Management review – A formal review by your management to evaluate the relevant facts about the management system processes in order to make appropriate decisions and assign resources.
Corrective actions – Following the internal audit and management review, you need to correct the root cause of any identified problems and document how they were resolved.
The company certification process is divided into two stages:
Stage One (documentation review) – The auditors from your chosen certification body will check to ensure your documentation meets the requirements of ISO 14001.
Stage Two (main audit) – Here, the certification body auditors will check whether your actual activities are compliant with both ISO 14001 and your own documentation by reviewing documents, records, and company practices.
This creation of documents and records can be done internally by your company, or you can get help through hiring a consultant or purchasing standard documentation.
Once all of the processes and procedures are in place, you will need to operate the EMS for a period of time. By doing this, you will be able to collect the records necessary to go to the next steps: auditing and reviewing your system and becoming certified.
To explain how to get certified to ISO 14001 simply;
- Gap analysis – This is an optional pre-assessment service where we take a closer look at your existing environmental management system and compare it with ISO 14001 requirements. This helps identify areas that need more work before we carry out a formal assessment, saving you time and money.
- Formal assessment – This happens in two stages. First we review your organization’s preparedness for assessment by checking if the necessary ISO 14001 procedures and controls have been developed. We will share the details of our findings with you so that if we find gaps, you can close them. And if you meet all the requirements we’ll then assess your site and operations, completing the formal checks for certification.
- Certification and beyond – When you have passed the formal assessment you will receive an ISO 14001 certificate, which is valid for three years. Your client manager will stay in touch during this time, paying you regular visits to make sure your system doesn’t just remain compliant, but that it continually improves.