ISO 14001 – Clause 6.1.2 Environmental Aspects

Environment, ISO Standards

environmental aspects

In this blog we continue to describe what an implementing company must do in order to meet the requirement of ISO 140001:2015. We will remain with clause 6.1: Actions to address risks and opportunities. Clause 6.1.2 relates specifically to environmental aspects.  Key to improving the environmental performance of your organization is controlling the environmental aspects that arise from its operations.  Improved environmental performance is a direct result of managing the organizations environmental aspects and impacts.

Clause 6.1.2: Environmental Aspects

The organization will need to determine the environmental aspects that relate to activities, products and services within the scope of its Environmental Management System.  It is also necessary to:

  • determine where aspects can be controlled or influenced
  • identify the environmental impacts associated with its environmental aspects
  • take a lifecycle perspective in relation to its environmental impacts
  • consider planned changes, such as new or modified activities, products or services
  • take into account abnormal conditions and foreseeable emergency situations

Terms relating to clause 6.1.2

  • The “environment” is the surroundings in which the organization operates and includes air, water, land, natural resources, fauna, flora, humans and their interrelationships.
  • The organization can interact with the environment in many ways, such as through its activities, products or services. Such interaction with the environment is termed an “environmental aspect”.
  • “Direct environmental aspects” are those which the organization can influence or control.
  • “Indirect environmental aspects” are those which the organization can influence but cannot control.
  • An “environmental impact” is an adverse or beneficial change to the environment resulting from the organization’s environmental aspects.
  • Taking a “lifecycle perspective” is to consider the environmental aspects of an organization’s activities, products, and services that it can control or influence. Lifecycle stages include acquiring raw materials, design, production, transportation, delivery, use, end-of-life treatment and final disposal.

Having identified actual and potential environmental impacts and aspects for its operations, the organization must determine which are significant. A defined method and criteria must be applied to do this. Significant environmental aspects must be communicated throughout the organization as appropriate.

The organization is required to maintain documented information of:

  • environmental aspects and associated environmental impacts
  • the criteria which has been applied to determine which environmental aspects result or may result in a significant environmental impact
  • significant environmental aspects

Clause 6.1.2 Environmental Aspects – Quick Check

  • Have you identified environmental aspects and impacts:
  • Under normal operating conditions?
  • All normal activities, products and services?
  • For abnormal activities, products or processes?
  • For all accidents and potential emergency situations associated with activities, products or processes?
  • Associated with past, present and planned activities, products or processes?
  • Associated with the full life cycle of the organization’s products or service?
  • Have you identified where aspects can be influenced?
  • Have you identified where aspects can be controlled?
  • Has a criteria and method been established to determine which environmental aspects result or may result in significant environmental impacts?
  • Is the criteria for determine significant aspects documented?
  • Is the criteria for determine significant aspects consistently applied?
  • Do employees who assess aspects and impacts to determine significance giving instruction or training on use off the criteria?
  • Are significant environmental aspects identified and documented?
  • Have you considered how significant environmental aspects are to be communicated within the organization, and to whom?
  • Are the organization’s environmental aspects regularly reviewed and revised as necessary?
Environment , Environmental Impacts , ISO 14001 , ISO 14001:2015
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