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Complete checklist for ISO 14001:2015

Here is the step-by-step guide to establishing your ISO 14001:2015 for your organisation. Answer the questions to your best knowledge and create and collect what you don't have.



Develop your EMS scope

Scope adequately defined within EMS documentation?



Assess if environmental policy is adequately defined:


  • Policy consistent with EMS scope?

  • How is policy committed to continuous improvement?

  • How is policy committed to the prevention of pollution?

  • How is the policy documented?

  • How is policy available to the relevant interested parties?





Consider whether the organization has established, implemented and maintained a procedure to identify the environmental aspects of activities, products or services that are within the scope of its EMS.

This will include environmental aspects that:

  •  The organization has direct control over

  •  The organization has a limited degree of influence1 Documentation

  •  Communication

  •  Emergency response procedures

  •  Internal audit procedures


Assess legal and regulatory requirements


Consider whether a procedure has been established and implemented to identify and have access to applicable legal and other requirements (eg. National Packaging Covenant, Greenhouse Challenge) that the organization subscribes to that are directly applicable to the identified environmental aspects.


  • Outline procedure for identifying/implementing regulatory requirements

  • Regulatory requirements considered when designing, implementing, and maintaining EMS?






Assess objectives, targets, and strategies

Record your assessment of environmental objectives, targets, and strategies.

Consider whether the organization has established, implemented and maintained documented environmental objectives and targets.


  • Environmental objectives and targets established, implemented and maintained?


Consider whether the organization established, implemented & maintained a strategy for achieving its objectives and targets.


Ensure that objectives and targets are measurable (where practical) and that they are they consistent with the following:

  • Environmental policy

  • Legal and other requirements

  • Prevention of pollution

  • Continuous improvements


When assessing resources, be sure to consider the following:

  • Human resources

  • Specialised skills

  • Organizational infrastructure

  • Technology

  • Financial resources


Assess whether the roles of the EMS representative include the defined roles, responsibilities and authority for:

Ensuring that environmental management system requirements are established, implemented and maintained in accordance with ISO 14001:2015

Reporting on the performance of the environmental management system to top management including recommendations for improvement

Assess competence, training, and awareness

How is worker competence assessed?


Consider whether or not a procedure has been established, implemented and maintained to ensure that the people working for, or on behalf of your organization are aware of:

  • The importance of conformity with the environmental policy and procedures and with the requirements of the environmental management system

  • The significant environmental aspects and related actual or potential impacts associated with their work activities and the environmental benefits of improved personal performance

  • Their roles and responsibilities in achieving conformity with the requirements of the environmental management

  • The potential consequences of departure from specified operating procedures

Assess documentation systems

To begin with, consider how the organization’s environmental management system documents the following:

  •  Environmental policy, objectives and targets

  •  Description of the scope of the environmental management system

  •  Description of the main elements of the environmental management system, their interaction and reference to related documents

  •  Documents and records required by the Standard

  •  Documents, including records, necessary for the effective planning, operation and control of processes related to its significant aspects

Assess control of documents


Is there a standardized procedure for controlling all documents in the EMS?


Consider how SOPs for control of documents account for:

  • Who approves the documents for adequacy before they are issued

  • How they are periodically reviewed, updated and re-approved as necessary

  • How changes and the current revision status are identified

  • How current versions of relevant documents are made available at points of use

  • How the legibility and identification of the documents are ensured

  • How external documents, as determined by the organization for effective planning and operation of the environmental management system are identified and controlled

  • How to prevent obsolete documents from unintended use, and apply suitable identification to them if they are retained for any purpose

Assess operational control

How are operations identified and planned in the context of the EMS?

Consider how operational activities are planned in order to ensure that they are carried out under specified conditions such as:

  • Establishing, implementing and maintaining documented procedures to cover situations where their absence could lead to deviations from the environmental policy and the objectives and targets

  • Stipulating operating criteria in the procedures

  • Establishing, implementing and maintaining procedures related to the identified significant environmental aspects of goods and services used by the organization and communicating applicable procedures and requirements to suppliers and contractors

Assess emergency preparedness and response


Consider how the organization has established, implemented and maintained a procedure(s) to identify the potential emergency situations and potential accidents that can have an impact on the environment.


A procedure should exist for identifying potential emergency situations.





Assess monitoring and measurements


Is there a procedure(s) to monitor and measure environmental impacts?


Consider how this procedure monitors the following:

  • Performance

  • Relevant operational controls

  • Conformity with the organization’s environmental objectives and targets

How is monitoring and measuring equipment calibrated, verified, and maintained?


Are calibration or verification records retained?


Assess compliance

Does the organization have a procedure(s) for compliance evaluation?

Assess non-conformity, corrective, and preventative action

Consider whether the organization has established, implemented, and maintained a procedure(s) for the following:

  • Dealing with actual and potential nonconformities

  • Corrective and preventive action

Consider whether the procedures define requirements for:

  • Identifying and correcting non-conformities and taking action to mitigate the resulting environmental impacts

  • Investigating the non-conformities, determining their causes and take action to avoid their recurrence

  • Evaluating the need for actions to be taken to prevent non-conformities, and implementing appropriate actions

  • Recording the results of corrective and preventive actions taken

  • Reviewing the effectiveness of corrective and preventive actions

How are decisions made regarding action taken to eliminate causes of non-conformity, etc?


How are changes such as corrective and preventative action documented in the EMS?

Assess control of records

Is there a standardized process for updating environmental records?


Consider whether or not these records include those that are necessary to demonstrate conformity to the requirements of the standard and include (for example), records of:

  • Competence, training & awareness

  • Communication

  • Evaluation of compliance with legal and other requirements

  • Monitoring and measurement

  • Corrective & preventive action

  • Internal audits

  • Management review

Assess procedures for internal audit

Is there a standardized process for internal audits?


Consider if these internal audits determine whether or not the environmental management system:

  • Conforms to planned arrangements for environmental management including the requirements of this standard

  • Has been properly implemented and maintained

How does the organization provide information on the results of audits to management?

Does the audit procedure cover:

  • The responsibilities and requirements for planning and conducting audits, reporting results and retention of associated records?

  • The determination of audit criteria, scope, frequency and methods?

And importantly:

How is auditor competency determined?


Provide an overview of the audit

Summarize recommendations for improvement of the organization's operations based on the understanding of the maturity levels across different areas of the organization.

At the end send all your documents, record, policies and procedures to Management for review and approval.

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