ISO 14001 was first published in 1996 and specifies the actual requirements for an environmental management system. It applies to those environmental aspects which the organization has control and over which it can be expected to have an influence.
ISO 14001 is often seen as the corner stone standard of the ISO 14000 series. However, it is not only the most well known, but is the only ISO 14000 standard against which it is currently possible to be certified by an external certification authority. Having stated this, it does not itself state specific environmental performance criteria.
This standard is applicable to any organization that wishes to:
- implement, maintain and improve an environmental management system
- assure itself of its conformance with its own stated environmental policy (those policy commitments of course must be made)
- demonstrate conformance
- ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations
- seek certification of its environmental management system by an external third party organization
- make a self-determination of conformance