What are the 10 most common environmental non-conformances identified by ISO 14001?


Does your organisation consider and manage its environmental impact? Everyday businesses are faced with increasing pressure from customers, regulators and governments to reduce their environmental impact. Below we have listed the top 10 environmental failings identified by ISO 14001:

Document your environmental procedures

An Environmental Manual or similar document is a requirement of ISO 14001 because it will state your Company’s intentions towards Environmental Management, but it will also describe what steps should be taken to achieve these goals successfully.

Check that your processes are delivering the desired results

By conducting what we call an internal audit you should look at a process and decide whether it is achieving the desired results. Do you have environmental operational controls in place and are they maintained? Ultimately, you need to evaluate if the processes you have meet the planned conditions in respect of how they interact with the environment.

Perform environmental management reviews

You need to ensure your Documented Environmental Procedures continue to be fit for purpose through regular Management Reviews. These reviews should be held to regular intervals and against an established agenda. You should have minutes taken so that the results can be distributed to relevant parties.

Record any environmental aspects and impacts

You should identify and record any Environmental Aspects and Impacts of activities within a Register or Environmental Programme. An Environmental Aspect is an element of the organisation’s activities, products or services that can interact with the environment. This will include identifying the priority and significance of each aspect.

Define environmental objectives & targets

You should conduct Environmental Risk Assessments to determine the impact of your organisation’s activities on the environment. Using the results of the Risk Assessment, a set of Environmental Objectives can then be defined, allowing progress to be monitored and, where practical, measured.

Set and communicate an Environmental Policy

An environmental policy is a statement, usually produced by top management, detailing your organisation’s environmental position and values. It should include the overall environmental performance intentions and direction. It is important that this Policy is communicated around the organisation.

Manage customer complaints about environmental issues

It is important to set a specific complaints process for the handling of environmental issues, to drive continual improvement. This is particularly valuable if your Organisation is in the manufacturing industry or your employees are working in conditions that have environmental implications i.e. chemicals, fuel, etc.

Implement a compliance register

Your organisation should have a Compliance Register or similar document that shows any relevant legislation that must be followed and the obligations that your Organisation has towards these. The Register should be regularly reviewed as part of Management Review process and be updated when required.

Provide training and keep a record of this

Alongside any training that your Organisation already provides to employees, additional training should be provided in regards to environmental issues and your company’s procedure in regards to Environmental Management. As with all training efforts, records should be kept to act as proof that the training has been provided and what was covered.

Record correspondence

Sometimes external interested parties may contact your Company for details on your Environmental Management policies and having an established procedure for receiving, documenting and responding to this type of communication is very important. Details of any such communication should be kept on record and reviewed during an Environmental Management Review as this may highlight areas for improvement of the communication handling process or the Environmental Procedures.


To help you stay on top of your non-conformances, we’ve created this handy info sheet that you can download.

If you feel like you could benefit from ISO 14001, visit our dedicated web page to find out more, or get in touch with us at 0333 344 3646 or [email protected].

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About the author

  • Name:

    Claire Price

  • Company:

    Content Marketing Executive

  • Bio:

    Claire worked for Citation ISO Certification between 2020 and 2022 writing creative and informative content on ISO certification and consultation to help businesses reach their potential.


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