ISO 14001 2015 Definitions

ISO DIS 14001 2015 is an "Interim Working Draft". It's not the final version.
According to ISO, the final version "is due to be published by the end of 2015".

We’ve translated ISO’s environmental management definitions into plain English
in order to make them easier to understand. Our definitions are based not only
on ISO`s official definitions but also on how ISO 14001 actually uses these terms.

Audit - Competence - Compliance Obligation - Conformity - Context
Continual Improvement - Corrective Action - Documented Information
Effectiveness - Environment - Environmental Aspect - Environmental Condition
Environmental Impact-Environmental Management System-Environmental Objective
Environmental Performance - Environmental Policy - Indicator - Interested Party
Life Cycle - Management System - Measurement - Monitoring - Nonconformity
Objective - Organization - Outsource - Performance - Prevention of Pollution
 Procedure - Process - Requirement - Risk - Top Management

OTHER PLAIN ENGLISH MANAGEMENT DICTIONARIES
 Quality Management - Service Management - Software Quality - Auditing
Risk Management - Business Continuity - Supply Chain Security -- Food Safety
Information Security - Aerospace Quality Management -  Workers' Health & Safety

 Medical Device Quality Management - Medical Device Risk Management

Audit

An audit is an evidence gathering process. Evidence is used to evaluate
how well audit criteria are being met. Audits must be objective, impartial,
and independent, and the audit process must be both systematic and
documented. Audits can be either internal or external.

Internal audits are referred to as first-party audits while external audits
can be either second or third party. They can also be combined audits
(when two or more management systems of different disciplines are
audited together at the same time).

Audit evidence includes records, factual statements, and other verifiable
information that is related to the audit criteria being used. Audit criteria
may be thought of as a reference point and include policies, requirements,
and other forms of documented information. They are compared against
audit evidence to determine how well they are being met. Audit evidence
is used to determine how well policies are being implemented and how
well requirements are being followed.

Competence

Competence means being able to apply knowledge and skill
to achieve intended results. Being competent means having the
knowledge and skill that you need and knowing how to apply it.
It means that you’re qualified to do the job.

Compliance obligation

A compliance obligation is a requirement. There are two kinds
of compliance obligations: mandatory compliance obligations and
voluntary compliance obligations. Mandatory compliance obligations
include laws and regulations while voluntary compliance obligations
include contractual commitments, community and industry standards,
ethical codes of conduct, and good governance guidelines. A voluntary
obligation becomes mandatory once you decide to comply with it.

Conformity

To conform means to meet a requirement (or a compliance obligation).
Since there are many kinds of requirements, conformity can take many
forms. You can conform (or comply) with mandatory requirements like
laws and regulations or with voluntary requirements such as contracts,
agreements, codes, and standards.

In the context of environmental management, you can conform
(or comply) with (or to) the ISO 14001 requirements (or obligations)
and to any additional environmental management requirements
(or obligations) that your organization establishes for itself.

Context

An organization’s context is its business environment. It includes
all of the issues, factors, and conditions that could influence or be
influenced by an organization's environmental management system.

The new ISO 14001 standard now expects you to understand both
your external context and your internal context when you establish
your EMS. This means that you need to identify and understand the
external issues and the external environmental conditions that could
influence your organization's EMS and the results that it intends to
achieve. It also means that you need to identify and understand the
internal issues and internal environmental conditions that could
influence your EMS and the results it intends to achieve.

Continual improvement

In the context of this EMS standard, continual improvement is a set of
recurring activities that organizations use to enhance their environmental
performance. Environmental performance is enhanced whenever the
environmental aspects of activities, processes, products, services, and
systems are controlled and whenever adverse environmental impacts
are reduced and beneficial environmental impacts are produced.

Corrective action

Corrective actions are steps that are taken to prevent recurrence
by eliminating the cause or causes of an existing nonconformity.
The corrective action process tries to make sure that existing
nonconformities don’t happen again.

Documented information

The term documented information refers to information that
must be controlled and maintained and its supporting medium.
Documented information can be in any format and on any medium
and can come from any source.

Documented information includes information about the environmental
management system and related processes. It also includes all the
information that organizations need to operate and all the information
that they use to document the results that they achieve (aka records).

Effectiveness

Effectiveness refers to the degree to which a planned effect is achieved.
Planned activities are effective if these activities are actually carried out
and planned results are effective if these results are actually achieved.

Environment

The term environment refers to an organization’s natural and human
surroundings. An organization’s environment extends from within the
organization itself to the global system, and includes air, water, land,
flora, and fauna (including people), and natural resources of all kinds.

Environmental aspect

An environmental aspect is an element or characteristic of an activity,
product, or service that interacts or can interact with the environment.
Environmental aspects can cause environmental impacts. They can
have either beneficial impacts or adverse impacts and can have a
direct and decisive impact on the environment or contribute only
partially or indirectly to a larger environmental change.

Environmental condition

Environmental conditions are states or characteristics of the
environment at a particular point in time. ISO 14001 expects you to
identify the environmental conditions that are capable of affecting or
being affected by your organization and to figure out what you need
to do to prevent or reduce the risk that these conditions could
adversely affect its environmental performance.

Environmental impact

An environmental impact is a change to the environment that is
caused either partly or entirely by one or more environmental aspects.
An environmental aspect can have either a direct and decisive impact
on the environment or contribute only partially or indirectly to a larger
environmental change. In addition, it can have either a beneficial
environmental impact or an adverse environmental impact.

Environmental management system

An environmental management system (EMS) is one part of a larger
management system and is a set of interrelated or interacting elements
that organizations use to implement their environmental policy, to achieve
their environmental objectives, to meet their environmental compliance
obligations, to address their environmental aspects and risks, and to
manage their environmental threats and opportunities.

These elements include structures, programs, procedures, processes,
practices, plans, rules, roles, regulations, responsibilities, relationships,
contracts, agreements, documents, records, methods, tools, techniques,
technologies, and resources.

Environmental objective

An environmental objective is an environmental result your organization
intends to achieve. Your organization’s environmental objectives should
be based on or derived from its environmental policy and must be
consistent with this policy.

Environmental performance

The term environmental performance refers to the environmental
results that are achieved whenever the environmental aspects of
activities, processes, products, services, systems, and organizations
are managed and controlled. Environmental performance is improved
whenever the environmental aspects of activities, processes, products,
services, systems, and organizations are managed and controlled and
whenever adverse environmental impacts are reduced and beneficial
environmental impacts are produced. You can measure environmental
performance
by using indicators to compare environmental results
against environmental objectives and environmental policies
(or other suitable criterion).

Environmental policy

A policy is a commitment, direction, or intention and is formally stated
by the top management of an organization. An environmental policy
should make a commitment to protect the environment, to meet all
relevant compliance obligations, and to enhance environmental
performance.

Indicator

An indicator is a “measurable representation”. It is used to indicate
or measure the status or condition of an operation or an activity. In
the context of this standard, indicators can be used to quantify and
evaluate environmental performance. They can be used to measure
how much success you’ve had and how much progress you’ve made
relative to the environmental objectives you wish to achieve and the
environmental policy you wish to implement. Indicators can also be
used to monitor trends and to support decision making.

Interested party

In general, an interested party is any person, group, or organization who
can affect, be affected by, or believe that they are affected by a decision
or activity. In the context of this ISO 14001 standard, an interested party
is anyone who can affect, be affected by, or believe that they are
affected by the environmental performance of an organization.

Life cycle

In the context of this standard, the term life cycle refers to the
consecutive and interlinked stages of a product system from the
acquisition of raw materials to end-of-life disposal. The life cycle
of a product system includes all associated activities, products,
and services and may include procured goods and services as
well as end-of-life treatment, decommissioning, and disposal.

Management system

A management system is a set of interrelated or interacting elements
that organizations use to formulate policies and objectives and to
establish the processes that are needed to ensure that policies are
followed and objectives are achieved. These elements include
structures, programs, procedures, practices, plans, rules, roles,
responsibilities, relationships, contracts, agreements, documents,
records, methods, tools, techniques, technologies, and resources.

There are many types of management systems. Some of these include
environmental management systems, financial management systems,
risk management systems, quality management systems, business
continuity management systems
, food safety management systems,
information security management systems, occupational health and
safety management systems
, compliance management systems,
and emergency management systems.

Measurement

Measurement is a process that is used to determine a value.

Monitoring

To monitor means to determine the status of an activity, process, or
system at different stages or at different times. In order to determine
status, you may need to supervise and to continually observe and
check the activity, process, or system that is being monitored.

Nonconformity

Nonconformity refers to the “non-fulfilment of a requirement”.
When an organization fails to meet a requirement, a nonconformity
exists. Since there are many kinds of requirements, nonconformity
can take many forms. You can fail to conform (or fail to comply) with
mandatory requirements like laws and regulations or with voluntary
requirements such as contracts, agreements, codes, and standards.

Objective

An objective is a result you intend to achieve. Objectives can be strategic,
tactical, or operational and can apply to an organization as a whole or to
a system, process, project, product, or service. Objectives may also be
referred to as targets, aims, goals, or intended outcomes.

Organization

An organization can be a single person or a group that achieves its
objectives by using its own functions, responsibilities, authorities,
and relationships. It can be a company, corporation, enterprise, firm,
partnership, charity, or institution and can be either incorporated or
unincorporated and be either privately or publicly owned. It can also
be an operating unit that is part of a larger entity.

Outsource

When an organization makes an arrangement with an outside
organization to perform part of a function or process, it is referred
to as outsourcing. To outsource means to ask an external organization
to perform part of a function or process normally done inhouse. While
the outsourced organization is beyond the scope of your EMS, the
outsourced process or function itself may fall within the scope.

Performance

According to ISO, the term performance refers to a measurable result.
It refers to the measurable results that activities, processes, products,
services, systems and organizations are able to achieve. So whenever
processes, products, services, systems, or organizations perform well
it means that acceptable results are being achieved.

Prevention of Pollution

To prevent pollution means to avoid, reduce, or control the creation,
emission, or discharge of contaminants or waste materials. Pollution
must be prevented in order to reduce adverse environmental impacts.
Organizations use a wide variety of methods, techniques, practices,
processes, products, and services to prevent pollution. These include
the reduction or elimination of pollution at the source; the efficient use
of resources, materials, and energy; the reuse, recovery, reclamation,
and recycling of resources; the redesign of processes, products,
and services; and the substitution of one type of energy source
or substance for another cleaner energy source or substance.

Procedure

A procedure is a way of carrying out a process or an activity.
Procedures may or may not be documented.

Process

A process is a set of activities that are interrelated or that interact
with one another. They transform inputs into outputs. Processes
are interconnected because the output from one process often
becomes the input for another process.

Requirement

A requirement is a need, expectation, or obligation. It can be stated or
implied by an organization, its customers, or other interested parties.
A specified requirement is one that has been stated (in a document for
example), whereas an implied requirement is a need, expectation, or
obligation that is common practice or customary.

Risk

According to ISO 31000 2009, risk is the “effect of uncertainty on
objectives” and an effect is a positive or negative deviation from what
is expected. The following two paragraphs will explain what this means.

This definition recognizes that all of us operate in an uncertain world.
Whenever we try to achieve something, there’s always the chance that
things will not go according to plan. Sometimes we get positive results
and sometimes we get negative results and occasionally we get both.
Because of this, we need to reduce uncertainty as much as possible.

Uncertainty (or lack of certainty) is a state or condition that involves
a deficiency of information and leads to inadequate or incomplete
knowledge or understanding. In the context of risk management,
uncertainty exists whenever the knowledge or understanding of
an event, consequence, or likelihood is inadequate or incomplete.

Top management

The term top management normally refers to the people at the top of an
organization. It refers to the people who provide resources and delegate
authority and who coordinate, direct, and control organizations. However,
if the scope of a management system covers only part of an organization,
then the term top management refers, instead, to the people who direct
and control that part of the organization.


MORE ISO 14001 2015 PAGES

Introduction to ISO DIS 14001 2015

ISO 14001 2015 versus ISO 14001 2004

Outline of ISO DIS 14001 2015 Standard

Overview of ISO DIS 14001 2015 Standard

ISO DIS 14001 2015 Translated into Plain English

Plain English Environmental Management Checklist

Skills Environmental Management Auditors Must Have


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 Updated on January 12, 2015. First published on January 11, 2015.

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