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Environmental Management

Do you know the difference between environmental aspects and environmental impacts? 
Find this answer and more with our glossary of environmental management systems terms and definitions.
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  • ISO 14001:2015. The international standard for Environmental Management Systems and part of a series of related standards to help organisations enhance their environmental performance.  Its full title is: ISO 14001:2015 – Environmental Management Systems – Requirements with guidance for use.

  • ISO 14001:2004. The international standard for Environmental Management Systems, superseded by ISO 14001:2015, with a transition period ending in September 2017.

  •  ISO 14031:2013. Part of the ISO 14000 series, titled Environmental management – Environmental performance evaluation - Guidelines. It provides guidance to be used for evaluating environmental performance (EPE).

  • Environment. As Einstein said “the environment is anything that isn’t me” and ISO 14001 refers to the environment as the surroundings in which an organization operates. This includes air, water, land, natural resources, flora, fauna, humans and their interrelationships.

  • Environmental aspect. This can be any element of an organization’s activities, products or services that interacts or can interact with the environment. Aspect can vary widely depending on the specific organization but commonly include the use of energy, generation of waste and emissions to air, land and water.

  • Environmental impact. The result of a positive or negative change to the environment caused wholly or partially from an organization’s environmental aspects.

  • Environmental management system (EMS). This is part of the organizations management system used to:

    • manage environmental aspects and their interaction with the environment

    • fulfil compliance obligations, which may be voluntary or mandatory

    • address risks from internal and external sources and opportunities arising to enhance environmental performance

  • Environmental performance. Defined by ISO 14001 as performance related to the management of environmental aspects. The inference being that an organisation can control its environmental aspects to reduce adverse environmental impacts.

  • Environmental policy. A formal expression from an organisation’s top management setting direction in relation to environmental performance. It provides a framework for setting environmental objectives and expresses a commitment to fulfil compliance obligations and protect the environment. It is best practice to document, communicate and make the policy available to interested parties (stakeholders).

  • Environmental objective. Aims, goals and targets set to achieve strategic, tactical or operational results aligned to the environmental policy.

  • Prevention of pollution. The steps an organization takes to avoid, reduce or control the creation, emission or discharge of pollutants or waste into the environment. The aim is to reduce adverse environmental impacts by using appropriate methods, techniques, practices, processes, products and services.