ISO 14000

ISO 14001 is known as a generic management system standard, meaning that it is relevant to any organization seeking to improve and manage resources more effectively. This includes:

The basic principles of ISO 14001 are based on the well-known Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle.

Overall, the CI concept expects the organization to gradually move away from merely operational environmental measures towards a more strategic approach on how to deal with environmental challenges.

ISO does not control conformity assessment; its mandate is to develop and maintain standards. ISO has a neutral policy on conformity assessment in so much that one option is not better than the next. Each option serves different market needs. The adopting organization decides which option is best for them, in conjunction with their market needs.

Option two is often referred to as a customer or 2nd-party audit, which is an acceptable market term.

Option three is an independent third-party process by an organization that is based on an engagement activity and delivered by specially trained practitioners. This option was based on an accounting procedure branded as the EnviroReady Report, which was created to help small- and medium-sized organizations. Its development was originally based on the Canadian Handbook for Accountants; it is now based on an international accounting standard.

The fourth option, certification, is another independent third-party process, which has been widely implemented by all types of organizations. Certification is also known in some countries as registration. Service providers of certification or registration are accredited by national accreditation services such as UKAS in the UK.