An environmental management system that meets the requirements of ISO 14001 is accepted globally and can be used by businesses to enhance the environment. The accomplishment of objectives and improved performance are two examples of positive environmental outcomes that can be used to indicate a company's compliance with environmental standards and client expectations. The 2015 standard is the most recent in a line of 14001 standards that began in 1996. Early versions of ISO 14001 offered organizations a platform to implement environmental policies and objectives in response to the increased demand from businesses that required them to show that they were performing well in terms of the environment.

Consumer and organizational expectations of business environmental performance are evolving and expanding, reflected in the evolution of ISO 14001. Before the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard was released, the British Standards Institution released BS 7750 in response to a growing demand from businesses that were being requested to show their commitment to the environment. The revised 14001 Standard focused on strengthening the fundamental standards and added more specifications for compliance requirements. Organizations also had to make a distinction between factors they directly influenced and those they may impact. As a result, corporations were forced to act as "Leading Change," and as a result, supply chains started getting better. 

Also, the ISO 14001 standard incorporates the risk-based approach and permits giving priority to risks and opportunities that are pertinent to the enterprise. An organization is motivated to establish a more thorough environmental strategy and action plan when combined with minimum requirements, such as compliance with laws, and obligations, such as the prevention of pollution. 

If the firm has implemented an EMS (Environmental Management System), then you are aware of the impact its outcomes have on both company performance and the overall environment. If you are certified to the ISO 14001 standard or are seeking ISO 14001 certification, you will be aware of the need of monitoring the efficacy of the  EMS performance, both as a guide to performance and as evidence that continuous improvement is taking place. As a result, it comes to reason that accurate measurement and awareness of exactly what has to be measured are crucial to the overall effectiveness of your EMS. So, what criteria must be considered to ensure that this significant factor is met?

The ISO 14001:2015 standard's clause 9.1 covers Monitoring, measurement, analysis, as well as evaluation, and this section provides some hints as to what is anticipated to comply with the standard. Let's now take a closer look at the factors that must be taken into account to guarantee that the EMS is both functionally effective and in compliance with the standard's requirements. Your EMS must specify is:

  • Effective criteria for measurement – Make sure that any projects that have an impact on your EMS are measured by the KPI outputs. The firm might assess the impact of any new travel or carbon footprint regulations, for instance.
  • How these factors will be measured precisely – Establish the approach for measuring your outputs, making sure that your procedures guarantee consistency and accuracy for comparison from one period to the next.
  • The requirements that the business should use to evaluate its environmental performance – These criteria must be stated to ensure clarity, whether this goes against the law or is only against internally set goals.
  • The best time to conduct this measurement – The times that must be measured are decided upon and specified to maintain uniformity. Results should be measured in a way that compares to previous outcomes and can be done simply and precisely, whether they are measured weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
  • When the outcomes should be examined – It's crucial to take action after analysis. Results evaluation and the definition of remedial measures (if necessary) with improvement in mind are essential for any organization. So, it's important to specify regular times when this should occur.

So, it is clear that the EMS's monitoring of its components can be strongly correlated with its key performance indicators (KPIs). Therefore, it makes sense that the measurement and subsequent analysis of these KPIs could be planned into your EMS. Also, everything must be recorded in the ISO 14001 documents, which can also help for future reference. The results could then be shared with the entire company, any necessary actions could be discussed by the internal team and initiatives could be planned accordingly. So, measuring the results of the KPIs should be the very first step in figuring out how well your EMS is performing.