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ISO 14001:2015 and EWS, how can we link them?

Aug 29th, 2016 |

ISO 14001 is the international standard for designing and implementing an environmental management system (EMS). It provides the framework and guidelines for creating an EMS which is in fact the set of policies, processes, plans, practices and records that define the rules governing how the company interacts with the environment. Companies use it as means to improve the company’s image and credibility by assuring customer or clients of their commitment to demonstrable management of the company’s environmental impacts.

A company that is ISO 14001:2015 certified has undertaken a risk and opportunity (R&O) assessment which should cover both the internal and the external context. A new requirement of the 2015 version of the ISO 14001’s is that the R&O assessment needs to include context of the organization, interested parties and potential emergency situations. Additionally, the R&O needs to address  everything that can limit the company in achieving its environmental objectives. Considering these risks and opportunities helps companies identify factors that might jeopardize a secure Environmental Management System or help make improvements to the system.

Water is included in these risks, from physical, regulatory to reputational. If the assessment demonstrates that water is a current or potential future risk, in order to comply with ISO 14001:2015, the company is required to have a document which explains their procedures in place for addressing such risks and how the risks are taken into account in the planning step. At this point, the EWS standard becomes a powerful tool to provide proof of both a deeper analysis of the water related risks and a solid water management strategy. Thus, EWS is evidence of compliance with 6.1.4 (planning action – new 2015 requirement) in relation to the defined water risks.

EWS also supports ISO 14001 compliance for a company that has defined water use, water pollution or other related water aspects as significant environmental aspect in ISO 14001:2015 (clause 6.1.2). If, for example, water use has been defined as significant environmental aspect, ISO 14001 requires companies to define environmental objectives and their plans to achieve them (clause 6.2). In this case, compliance with EWS in a defined period of time can be used as an objective to mitigate water related environmental impacts. Addtionally, EWS would guide the company to properly assess water sources, incorporate best management practices and ensure efficiency in water use.

Want to hear more practical examples and receive guidance on how EWS can support your ISO 14001:2015 certification? Contact Maria Valle:

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