ISO 14001 is a series of international, voluntary environmental management standards. These standards were developed by ISO Technical Committee 207. The standards address environmental management systems, auditing and related investigations, labeling, life-cycle assessment, and other environment aspects.
The ISO series of standards effectively address the needs of organizations worldwide by providing a common framework for managing their environmental issues. They promise to effect a broadly based improvement in environmental management, which in turn can facilitate trade and improve environmental performance worldwide. The standard requirements specified in ISO 14001 are supported by a series of guidelines documented in the ISO 14001 series.
ISO 14001 is expected to become a prerequisite for doing business worldwide. Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have indicated that certification may lead to a reduction in the amount of inspections required.
ISO (www.iso.ch) has published a brochure to help organizations choose the combination of ISO 14000 environmental management standards that best meet their needs. The first ISO 14000 standards were published in 1996. The family has now grown to include more than 20 documents.