If you aim to improve your organisation’s environmental performance and emerge as a green business, then implementing ISO 14001 is the best strategic move. However, implementing any ISO standard is not a cakewalk. You need to gather support from the top, determine the expectations of all interested parties, understand how your business produces its waste streams, and check the efficiency of your current measures that improve your environmental performance. Additionally, you must conduct a gap analysis to test the efficiency, functionality and relevance of all your safeguards and processes, comparing them to the recommendations stipulated in ISO 14001. Thankfully, we can help you in your endeavour. In this article, we will discuss the gap analysis ISO 14001 and how it can be utilised to maximise business performance.
Gap analysis ISO 14001 accreditation is a strategic and systematic method of evaluating the performance of a business to determine if the business requirements or objectives are being met and if any additional steps should be taken to improve the performance. The other names of gap analysis are need-gap analysis, needs assessment and needs analysis. Essentially, there are three steps in a gap analysis, where the top management must analyse the current state of the processes to identify the ideal future state. All that is left is to find the gap and evaluate the solutions by implementing a plan to bridge the gap.
In addition to knowing the ISO 14001 meaning, it is better to know about gap analysis ISO 14001 importance. A gap analysis will provide the management with a comprehensive understanding of where their Environmental Management System (EMS) needs to be improved regarding strategic direction, compliance with ISO 14001 and industry-specific best practices. Therefore, a gap analysis is crucial because it can help align the business with its objectives, improve compliance, and enhance process capabilities. This is because the gap analysis report will list the details of the outstanding actions that can be taken to prepare the organisation for the upcoming external audit with a certification body.
To understand how to perform the gap analysis, you must understand the 10 clauses of ISO 14001. The first three clauses are introductory and aimed to help the reader understand the terms and definitions used in the standard. The meaty clauses begin from clause 4, namely, the organisation’s context.
Here, the management must determine the external and internal issues that are relevant to the purpose of the environmental management system. Then, they must determine if this information is systematically presented at the management reviews and have the inputs from various interested parties being considered to develop the environmental policy.
Under the leadership clause, the management must find out if the top management is demonstrating its commitment to the EMS by taking an active and leading role in understanding the duties and participating in promoting a supportive environment within the organisation. This includes listing the resources and roles needed for the proper functioning of the EMS.
The following clause focuses on planning, and you need to ensure that a sufficient document is available to give confidence that the process has been carried out as planned. This means that you need to solidify if there is evidence that environmental aspects of your organisation have been addressed.
Under support, you need to ensure that the planning was appropriately communicated across the organisation and the environmental information communicated is consistent with the data generated within the EMS.
Similarly, under the operation heading, the organisational control processes are evaluated for their consistency in achieving environmental objectives throughout their life cycle. Next, the process for evaluating compliance obligation fulfilment is assessed under performance evaluation. Lastly, under continual improvement, the application of corrective actions is considered. By conducting the assessment clause by clause, you can identify where you are lacking and what your strengths are.
As you can imagine, remembering all the steps of the gap analysis ISO 14001 can become a discouraging task. Fortunately, to motivate the top managers in their attempt to improve their environmental performances, ISO 14001 gap analysis checklist becomes handy. Essentially, this checklist is a self-assessment and implementation checklist that business owners or top managers can refer to, even without any previous knowledge of the ISO standards.
The checklist has columns dedicated to the gap analysis question, finding, name of the process owner, action needed, planned date, and the date on which the action was actually conducted. Therefore, anyone viewing the checklist can understand the status of corrective actions. Hence, at a simple glance, helping them refine the implementation plan as per the current position. If the ISO 14001 gap analysis checklist can’t help, ISO 14001 consultation will be the best solution in the implementation process.
Gap analysis ISO 14001 helps the organisation improve the functionality of their EMS and achieve compliance by highlighting the areas where their processes are deficient, in comparison to the recommendations of ISO 14001.
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