The ISO 14001 standard provides organizations with the framework for an effective environmental management system (EMS) focused on achieving their environmental and economic goals and objectives. The overall goal is to protect the environment; prevent pollution and to continually improve overall environmental performance and regulatory compliance. ISO 14001 defines best practice requirements for proactive management of the environmental impact of your organization.
In 1996, the International Organization of Standardization published the first edition of ISO 14001 EMS standard. It is an international voluntary standard describing specific requirements for an EMS. ISO 14001 is considered the foundational document of a family of EMS documents published by the ISO organization.
While part of a series of EMS standards, ISO 14001 is the only standard that specifies requirements to which an organization may receive certification by a Certification Body. ISO published the new ISO 14001:2004 EMS on November 15, 2004, allowing organizations currently certified to ISO 14001:1996 until May 15, 2006 to make the transition to the new standard, and old standard will expire at that time.