A change in the design and thinking in ISO 14001:2015 brings new challenges for auditors to apply their competencies to the accomplishment of audits. The change also brings great opportunity.
An effective EMS audit provides a solid framework for meeting customer challenges and realizing benefits such as environmental protection, resource conservation and improved energy efficiency.
If you have the opportunity to read the current ISO 14001:2015 International Standard, you will see that the clauses are less prescriptive and require the user to engage the process approach to implement the standard.
Moving away from a prescriptive approach to process approach requires new thinking on how to audit. The mere use of checklists aligned with a set of standard clauses will no longer work as auditing moves toward interviewing techniques rather than review of records, corrective action data, and policy. The writers of the ISO 14001:2015 standard are envisioning that audits will take place through a series of in-depth discussions and analyses against risk to:
Understand the application of environmental management principles in the context of ISO 14001:2015.
Relate the environmental management system to the organizational products, services, activities and operational processes
Relate organization’s context and interested party needs and expectations to the planning and implementation of an organization’s environmental management system.
Assess the risk of significant environmental impacts and activities identified in the context of the organization’s EMS management system.
Assess the effectiveness of methodologies to control environmental hazards.
Assess the EMS roles and responsibilities within the context of the organizational environment.
Determine the adequacy and effectiveness of the EMS.