An Environmental Management System can be defined by the international standard ISO 14001:2015 as: “Part of an organisation’s management system used to develop and implement its environmental policy and manage its environmental impacts.” Therefore, at the core of an EMS is the requirement to acknowledge and understand the environmental risks and opportunities associated with the activities, services, and products of an organisation.

But first we must understand what environmental aspects and environmental impacts can be defined as. When determining environmental risks and opportunities, we must first identify the elements of an organization’s activities, services or products that have or can have an effect on the environment in some way or another, these are referred to as “aspects”. Environmental aspects will directly or indirectly result in a change to the environment, which can either be positive or negative, and are referred to as “impacts”.

This sets the basis of an environmental aspects and impacts register. The purpose thereof is to determine and give significance to the environmental aspects and the related impacts as mentioned above. During the process of determining the environmental aspects, it is important to note that the organisation should take into account any planned changes to its activities, services and products, as well as any possible abnormal conditions and reasonably foreseeable emergency situations and include this as documented information within the register.

Environmental Aspect and Impact registers are populated with the aspects and associated impacts of an organization and are assessed by their likelihood and consequence to give a significance rating. Operational controls within an organization that are implemented to reduce the significance of these impacts and needs to be documented. The organization will also need to ensure that it has a way of determining which of the environmental aspects have significant impacts.

Environmental Assurance has a dedicated ISO 14001 Environmental Management System division that has employees dedicated to ensuring they assist your company build the ISO EMS tailormade to your organisational needs and requirements, assist in identification of areas for improvement and take you from implementation of your EMS to certification. Why not give us a call today and find out how we can assist you with your ISO 14001 needs.

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