Most of the changes to ISO 14001:2015 enhance the processes by which an organisation protects the environment using their EMS. The committee was responsible for drafting the clause on environmental policy which now requires that an organisation should commit to protecting the environment.
This is an expansion over the previous policy commitments, which were limited to prevention of pollution and compliance with legislation and is now a generic term which encourages organisations to look at protecting their overall environment rather than just the pollution they or their products and services may cause.
ISO 14001:2015 introduces the terminology of life cycle perspective which will require an organisation to look at their products and services from the beginning to the end of their life cycle.
This incorporates looking at how they will control outsourced processes. To do this, organisations need to determine what they can control and/or influence, and then apply the appropriate controls or influence through their management system.
They also need to look at the end of life treatment and the disposal of their products or of their service. This will extend into areas such as design, because when they are designing new products, they will need to consider its design to see how they can improve its environmental performance.
Another area which is important within the ISO 14001:2015 is in the area of communication - both internal and external. Whilst this was covered in ISO 14001:2004, within the new standard, there is now a need for the organisation to develop a process by which they will determine what they will communicate, when they will communicate and to whom they will communicate.
Another change that has occurred as a result of Annex SL is that the Plan, Do, Check, Act model within ISO 14001:2004 has been redrawn to reflect the Annex SL structure.