Notes on AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016 Australian/new Zealand standards transitioning
AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016 Environmental Management System standards have now been published (6th October 2016) and are a major revision to the previous edition issued in 2004.

This Standard is identical with, and has been reproduced from ISO 14001:2015, Environmental management systems - Requirements international standards.

AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016 is more detailed than the 2004 version providing greater clarity. This means you can make it relevant to the requirements of your own organisation to gain sustainable business improvements.

One of the major changes to AS/NZS ISO 14001 is that it brings environmental management and continual improvement into the heart of an organisation. This means that the new standard is an opportunity for organisations to align their strategic direction with their environmental management system. In addition, there is an increased focus on improving environmental performance. Organisations will need to take steps to protect the environment and improve environmental performance

AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016 was published on October 6th, 2016 and supersedes AS/NZS ISO 14001:2004 (which was published in 2004).

AS/NZS ISO 14001:2004 will remain valid during the 3-year transition period until September 2018.

Existing AS/NZS ISO 14001:2004 certifications will remain valid until September 2018. Organisations that have been certified to AS/NZS ISO 14001:2004 can upgrade to AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016 after a successful re-certification (or an surveillance audit to AS/NZS ISO 14001:2015).

Organisations that are planning on AS/NZS ISO 14001 certification should implement ISO 14001:2016. Ensafe group has updated its Environmental management systems to the new standards and is now available at:

http://www.ensafegroup.com.au/environmental/environmental-management-plan-and-system

Organisations that are in the middle of AS/NZS ISO 14001:2004 implementation should continue with the 2004 version and only later (in late 2017 or early 2018) transition to AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016.

Only those organisations that cannot start their ISO 14001 implementation now may later start with AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016.

Organisations with existing AS/NZS ISO 14001:2004 certifications should plan on transitioning to AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016 towards the end of the 3-year transition period.

All our customers purchasing our 14001 products from January 2016 and onwards will receive updated documents free of charge once our updated documents become available.

How will AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016 affect me?


In general, ISO 14001 will have a positive impact, as it is clearer and better than the previous standard. Ensafe Group customers, who have always had the benefit of an efficient and lean ISO 14001 environmental management system, will see fewer changes in operations and documentation.

Don't rush into AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016!

Organisations that haven't started their AS/NZS ISO 14001 implementation yet, may wonder if they should implement AS/NZS ISO 14001:2004 or AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016. The first thought may be to "go with the newest" but there are actually many reasons to implement AS/NZS ISO 14001:2004 first and transition to AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016 later during the 3-year transition period.

AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016 hasn't had much chance yet to be used and applied in real business life and a significant number of AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016 audits have yet to be performed. This means that there aren't yet any commonly accepted interpretations of the requirements and how they are to be applied to business operations.

Similarly, there hasn't developed anything near to a common understanding among auditors of what should or should not be a non-conformance during an audit. With this much uncertainty, it is recommended to go with the well-established AS/NZS ISO 14001:2004 for now.

Auditing guidelines need to be established and auditors need to be trained in AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016 auditing, while registrars need to update their systems for the updated AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016 standards.