ISO 14001:2015 Life Cycle Requirements

ANAB (ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board) recently issued a clarification from TC 207 addressing lifecycle requirements found in ISO 14001:2015.

This Q & A document is a long one and includes 2004 and earlier material, but skip to Section III page 26 and 27 to gain a better understanding of the new 2015 EMS lifecycle requirements as it impacts lifecycle assessments, outsourced processes, and an organization's significant aspects.

Request a quote for a review or an ISO standards auditASR auditors will begin using this ANAB clarification when conducting audits to ISO 14001:2015.

If there are further questions regarding this clarification, please contact ASR's technical manager, Tom Droog.

Click "Continue Reading" to read pages 26 and 27 of the ANAB publication, or pdfclick here to download the entire PDF.

Part III

The questions and answers shown in Part III were developed as clarifications of the ISO 14001:2015 standard. One should not infer that these clarifications are valid with regard to either the ISO 14001:1996 standard or the ISO 14001:2004 standard.



Does ISO 14001:2015 require Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) to be completed as part of the enhanced life cycle perspective requirements?


ISO 14044:2006 Clause 3.2.1, defines a life cycle assessment as “a compilation and evaluation of the inputs, outputs and the potential environmental impacts of a product system throughout its life cycle”.

ISO 14001:2015 requires taking a life cycle perspective. In Annex A6.1.2, a life cycle perspective is explained as follows: “This does not require a detailed life cycle assessment; thinking carefully about the life cycle stages that can be controlled or influenced by the organization is sufficient”. The life cycle stages of a product (or service) include acquisition of raw materials, design, production, transportation/delivery, use, end-of life treatment and final disposal (3.3.3). In Clause 6.1.2, ISO 14001:2015 requires the organization to consider these life cycle stages when determining the environmental aspects that it can control or can influence.



If an organization does not have any outsourced processes, to what extent does clause 8.1 apply? Do the requirements in the paragraph starting “consistent with a life cycle perspective” only apply to outsourced processes?


If an organization has no outsourced processes, the only requirements of Clause 8.1 that are not applicable to its EMS are:
-The org shall ensure that outsourced processes are controlled or influenced.
-The type and extent of control or influence to be applied to the processes shall be defined within the environmental management system.

All of the other requirements in 8.1 are independent of whether a process is outsourced or not,including the requirements in the paragraph starting with ‘Consistent with a life cycle perspective…’



Does ISO 14001:2015 require the organization to apply a life cycle perspective when determining which of its environmental aspects are significant, i.e., in its criteria for determining significance?


In Clause 6.1.2 of ISO 14001:2015, an organization needs to consider a life cycle perspective when identifying the environmental aspects that it can control or influence.

There is no single method for determining significant environmental aspects. As stated in A.6.1.2, environmental criteria are the primary and minimum criteria for assessing environmental aspects to determine significance. The organization has the autonomy to apply additional criteria, including criteria related to life cycle perspective.

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