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

The Independent Assessment Protocol [PDF]. provides guidance to independent parties conducting EMS assessments at facilities wishing to apply to the Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP). This Protocol can be used as a stand-alone document, or it can be incorporated into existing audit protocols. The auditor(s) conducting the assessment must meet the qualifications set out in the ESP Independent Assessment Criterion [PDF]. In addition, the auditor(s) should have a good working knowledge of all of the ESP EMS provisions and be familiar with the other ESP entry criteria.

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.