Standards and Requirements of an EMS

ISO 14001 Environmental Management

The most commonly used framework for an Environmental Management System (EMS) is the ISO 14001 standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Established in 1996, this framework is the official international standard for an EMS which is based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology.

The ISO 14001 standard was updated in 2015 and includes the following elements:

  1. Context of the Organization
  2. Leadership
  3. Planning
  4. Support
  5. Operation
  6. Performance Evaluation
  7. Improvement

Independent Assessment Protocol

As an alternative to the ISO 14001 environmental management standard, IDEM offers the Independent Assessment Protocol [PDF]. The Independent Assessment Protocol provides guidance to independent parties conducting EMS assessments at facilities wishing to apply for or renew Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) membership.

The Independent Assessment Protocol was developed in 2006 and includes the following elements:

  1. Overall EMS
  2. Policy
  3. Planning
  4. Implement and Operation
  5. Monitoring
  6. Management Review
  7. Public Outreach and Performance Reporting

Third Party Audits

Any organization wishing to apply for or renew ESP membership must have a third-party audit completed within the last 36 months against the ISO 14001 standard or the Independent Assessment Protocol. Review the EMS Checklist [PDF] to see if the EMS includes all the components required for ESP membership.

IDEM staff cannot recommend auditors to perform the independent environmental management system assessment; however, you can search for certified individuals or organizations online.