ISO 14001: Environmental Management system (EMS)

ISO 14000 series of standards relate to environmental management and has been developed to help organizations to minimize the negative impacts of their operation on the environment via ensuring compliance to prevailing applicable laws, regulations, and other environmentally oriented requirements as well as best practice. ISO 14001 requires the organization to assess all of its environmental aspects related to the company’s activities, products and services. So, in a nutshell, ISO 140001 main requirement is that the significant environmental aspects of a company should be identified, documented and managed. The first international version of ISO 14001 was published in 1996. Like any other of widely used management system standard, ISO 14001 has evolved over time and the current version of the ISO 14001:2015 includes the concept of continuous improvement process approach.

In a shipping company, the company policy may include the implementation of ISO 14001 on its vessels which contains procedures for selecting the best environmental measures for a particular vessel and then sets objectives for the measurement of relevant parameters along with relevant control and feedback features. The implementation of ISO 14001 has the main advantage of reducing a company’s environmental impacts.

As many ships and companies already have an ISM code related management system that should include environmental protection, it would make sense for these companies to have an ISO 14001 compliant environmental management system; however as discussed before this is not mandatory and care should be exercised not cause complications with regard to ISM related Flag State and Port State Control inspections. Once an environmental procedure becomes part of the ship’s SMS, it is mandatory to follow the processes even if the requirements are not mandatory in other statuary legislation (MariEMS 2017).