ISO 14001 with its version of 2004 provides guidance to organizations for determining those environmental issues and “aspects” associated with their activities, to manage them most effectively and measure Environmental Management performance.

ISO 14001:2004 contains the core elements for an effective Environmental Management System. It can be applied to both service and manufacturing businesses. The standard requires a company to define environmental objectives and targets, and the management system necessary to attain these targets.

It also requires that the company adheres to that system’s processes, procedures, and activities.

The main elements of the standard are:

  • environmental policy
  • planning
  • implementation and operation
  • checking and corrective action
  • management review

Elements of an effective environmental system can be integrated with other management requirements to assist organizations to achieve their environmental and business-specific goals. ISO 14001:2004 requires companies to commit to prevention of pollution and continuous improvement as part of the normal management cycle.


  • Improvements in overall environmental performance and compliance
  • Provide a framework for using pollution prevention practices to meet EMS objectives
  • Increased efficiency and potential cost savings when managing environmental obligations
  • Promote predictability and consistency in managing environmental obligations
  • More effective targeting of scarce environmental management resources
  • Enhance public posture with outside stakeholders