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ISO 14004 is a document that can accompany the ISO 14001 standard for implementing an environmental management system, commonly called an EMS (see What is ISO 14001? for more details on the ISO 14001 standard and how it works). ISO 14004 is designed to provide guidance and practical advice to any organization, regardless of size, on ways to understand the ISO 14001 requirements and make their environmental management system implementation more successful. It was most recently updates in 2004 to match the 2004 version of ISO 14001.

Unlike ISO 14001, ISO 14004 is not intended for certification, regulatory or contractual use. This means that you cannot certify your environmental management system to ISO 14004 (for more information on certification see ISO 14001 Certification). It also means that the use of ISO 14004 is not intended to be mandated as a legal or contract requirement. The standard is, however, a good reference to turn to for ideas and practical examples on how to make your implementation of ISO 14001 more effective and successful.

ISO 14004 Document Structure

The ISO 14004 document follows comparable clauses to the ISO 14001 requirements standard. The goal is to provide guidance and practical advice on how to better implement the EMS according to the ISO 14001 requirements. The standard follows the structure of clauses below:

Clause 1: Scope defines that this standard provides guidance for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving an environmental management system, and coordinating with other management systems.

Clause 2: Normative References is included to keep the clause numbering the same as ISO 14004:1996; no normative references are cited.

Clause 3: Terms and Definitions section defines some terms that are used in the document.

Clause 4: Environmental management system elements is only an overall title for clauses 4.1 through 4.6.

Clause 4.1: General talks about the EMS model, top management commitment and leadership, setting the scope of the EMS and the initial environmental review. A practical help section is included for the EMS model and initial environmental review.

Clause 4.2: Environmental Policy explains this element of the standard and provides practical help on creating a policy and particularly about the commitment for prevention of pollution.

Clause 4.3: Planning provides additional information for managing the planning requirements of ISO 14001; including several sections of practical help and general guidance.

Clause 4.4: Implementation and operation builds on the requirements for implementation and operation in ISO 14001 to provide practical help on implementing these requirements.

Clause 4.5: Checking goes deeper to provide general guidance on implementing the checking requirements of ISO 14001.

Clause 4.6: Management Review goes deeper into the necessity to conduct management review per ISO 14001, and expands on using this for continual improvement of the environmental management system with some examples.

Appendix A: Examples of correspondence between environmental management system elements provides two tables that help explain the relationship of activities to the elements of ISO 14001 such as objectives and targets.

Advisera Mark Hammar
Mark Hammar
Mark Hammar is a Certified Manager of Quality / Organizational Excellence through the American Society for Quality and has been a Quality Professional since 1994. Mark has experience in auditing, improving processes, and writing procedures for Quality, Environmental, and Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems, and is certified as a Lead Auditor for ISO 9001, AS9100, and ISO 14001.