Integrating ISO 9001 and ISO 14001

Have you considered integrating your Quality Management System with an Environmental Management System? If so, you are one of several companies that can save time and money by putting resources toward maintaining one Management System rather than two. Integrating ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 can pose some challenges, but the similarities in the two standards make an integrated system fairly easy to implement.

Plan-Do-Check-Act: The basic foundation of both management systems

With the basic foundation of both standards being the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, many compatible areas exist within the standards. ISO 9001 uses “Resource Management”-“Product Realization”-“Measurement, Analysis and Improvement”-“Management Responsibility” as the PDCA cycle, where ISO 14001 uses “Environmental Policy & Planning”-“Implementation and Operations”-“Checking”-“Management Review” as the cycle. On the surface these seem very different, but although the top-level names have been changed, the underlying requirements contain many similarities.


There are several requirements that are virtually identical in the two standards, and as such can be done together to meet the requirements of both standards in one place:

  1. Both require an overall Policy as well as Objectives with Targets (ISO 14001 adds Programmes)
  2. Both require Responsibility and Authority to be identified
  3. Both put an emphasis on Competence, Training and Awareness
  4. Both have requirements for Communication, Control of System Documents and Records
  5. Under monitoring and measurement, both require systems for Non-conformity, Corrective and Preventive Action, and Internal Audit
  6. Both require a Management Review of the system

With all of these common elements, it would seem logical to maintain one system for each common element. Why would you want a separate Corrective and Preventive action system? Why would you not include checks for both systems during an Internal Audit? Having one system for Competence, Training and Awareness seems logical, and having a combined system for Management Review would make a lot of sense.  The similarities between the two systems allow you to have one documentation control procedure that covers both systems, and also allows you to have one internal audit process that can review both systems at once.

Additions of ISO 14001

The main differences are few, but can make integration difficult if not understood. I will go through the elements of ISO 14001 that are not included in ISO 9001.

Identification and classification. Planning in ISO 14001 includes identification and classification of Environmental Aspects, which are those interactions that the company has with the environment. This is a major action since it requires that you identify ANY interaction between your company and the environment, positive or negative. You then need to identify which are significant, and which you have control or influence over. It is also helpful to classify these into groups, such as “Air Pollution,” Water Pollution,” “Land Pollution,” “Use of Natural Resources”.  Some examples could be:

  • Aluminum used in parts machining – Use of Natural Resources – Controlled by company since it can make changes by reducing scrap.
  • Waste Metal Recycler – Air Pollution from trucks – Influenced by company since the company can try to hire the waste company that will travel the least distance to recycle the material, thus reducing air pollution from the trucks.

Legal requirements. There is a section on identifying and maintaining legal requirements that pertain to the company. Once this process is identified, a continued review of the sources should be accomplished easily. There are even some companies set up to help with the identification and maintenance if you want to outsource this activity. Further, there is a requirement to evaluate compliance with the identified requirements.

Emergency Preparedness and Response. Lastly, there is a need to have plans for Emergency Preparedness and Response. If there is an emergency situation where a negative environmental impact takes place, the company needs to have plans in place to deal with this situation to avoid or minimize environmental damage.

These three elements will require new processes not already implemented in a Quality Management System, but the addition of the processes should not detract or complicate the system already in place. There are no fundamental conflicts between the requirements, only additions to what would already be present.

Using system synergies to save time and money

By integrating the two management systems, there are many synergies that allow for combined resources to save time and money on maintaining and improving the management system.  The commonalities will allow processes already in place to be used with both Management Systems, while the few additional processes will not interfere with processes already in place. The savings from integration can be found by using processes that are already in place, such as Internal Audits, to apply for both systems; one internal auditor can audit both systems simultaneously with little additional cost in time or effort. The overall effect is that the cost of having an additional standard in your Management System is almost zero.

Click here to download a free white paper How to integrate 2015 revisions of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, and see how it can be done easier than you thought.

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.