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News | Environmental management re-loaded

The revised ISO 14001 environmental standard has been in force since September

The ISO/TC 207 committee is in charge of developing global environmental management standards for organizations. The committee, which comprises experts from around the world, has met annually for the past 20 years. The 22nd plenary meeting was held in New Delhi, India’s capital, from September 7-22. A team of nine experts from Germany was among the 250 delegates to attend.


Some members of the German delegation in New Delhi, India (left to right): Prof. M. Mau (Justus-Liebig University of Gießen), Prof. E. Seifert (IöB-University of Siegen/Vienna University of Economics and Business), M. Prox (IFU Hamburg), Dr. J. Nibbe (coordination office for standardization activities, Berlin environmental associations), Dr. G. Fleischer (DIN Berlin’s consumer council), Dr. U. Jäckel (BMU Berlin), B. Schwager (VBU Essen/Bosch Gerlingen)


The ISO 14001 environmental management norm, which was revised in 2015, was the focus of this year’s meeting. The revised norm is based on the high-level structure that ISO has defined. It provides a largely standardized design and harmonized terminology for all management systems. Moreover, the new version foresees that environmental management systems should also consider the context in which an organization is operating. In the past, the focus was mainly on the ecological impact of a company’s business activities. From now on, the norm will also require companies to report on how they prepare for and respond to changing environmental conditions. As a result, ISO 14001 will help users identify opportunities and risks for their business models, and take these into account in their strategic planning. Another change will mainly affect top management: senior executives are being made more responsible for pushing their organization’s environmental performance forward.

Since the mid-1990s, companies, public authorities, and public institutions around the world have obtained ISO 14001 certification for their environmental management activities. Today, there are 300,000 users, 120,000 of which are located in Europe. In Germany alone, about 8,000 organizations base their activities on this standard. Bosch is among them: all of the company’s locations have introduced environmental management systems based on ISO 14001. By the end of 2014, almost 200 had been granted external certification.



For certified companies to transition from ISO 14001:2004 to ISO 14001:2015, the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) has set a transitional period of three years. Effective September 15, 2018, certificates based on the old norm will no longer be valid.


More information on ISO 14000 can be found here.

News | New requirements for environmental management systems

The ISO 14001 standard update will affect more than 250 Bosch locations. 
Robert Page, Chair of the ISO/TC207 Environmental Management Technical Committee, with Bernhard Schwager, Chairman of the “Environmental Management and Environmental Audits” working group at the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN)
The ISO 14001 standard for environmental management systems is currently being overhauled. For the 250,000 companies around the world that have the most important environmental certification, this means that some changes are going to be required. Over the course of a three-year transition period, the new version will gradually replace the one currently in force. The process is likely to begin in the fall of 2015.
With the revisions, in the future environmental factors will be considered more strongly from two perspectives. In the past, the focus was mainly on the impact that companies had on the environment. From now on, organizations will also need to consider the opportunities and risks of a changing environment for their locations and business models.
Moreover, companies will now also need to focus on improving their environmental performance in addition to their management systems. The newly revised norm has clear expectations of companies. For instance, they are now required to implement proactive measures that promote the sustainable use of resources. The aim of this requirement is to encourage companies to reduce their emissions, wastewater, and waste to pre-defined levels.
Standards for internal and external communications have also been revised. With the new norm, communication measures not only need to be based on a clear strategy. They must also meet pre-determined quality criteria. However, organizations are free to decide what they communicate externally. As a result of more clearly allocated responsibilities for environmental tasks within companies, senior executives are being held more accountable than they were in the past.
As a company that has continuously improved its environmental performance for many years, Bosch is also committed to environmental norms. At more than 250 manufacturing and development locations around the world, environmental management systems that are based on ISO 14001 have already been introduced. Of these, about 200 locations have been certified by independent bodies, as the illustration shows.

News : Knowing when to turn off the lights

Reducing CO2 at Bosch locations with more environmental awareness



At home, most people know to turn off the lights or devices they aren’t using, and to regulate the heat as needed. However, most of us do not feel responsible for energy efficiency at work. Part of this is of the result of associates not knowing what they are allowed to turn off in offices, on the shop floor, or in laboratories – and where switching off equipment and devices could possibly result in damages or lost data. For this reason, Bosch has introduced new guidelines at many of its locations: green stickers now indicate that a piece of equipment can be switched off when the production process is completed. This gives associates a sense of security and helps save energy in a lasting manner. Thanks to this initiative, the Homburg location has been able to significantly reduce its energy costs per year.


These measures are part of a comprehensive approach that aims to make Bosch’s 242 locations around the world more energy efficient. This is in line with the overall target the company has set itself: by 2020, Bosch aims to reduce its CO2 emissions relative to value added by 20 percent over 2007 levels. The company has already achieved a relative reduction of 16 percent.


Providing associates energy awareness training is an important part of energy management. Another is carrying out pilot projects – such as the initiative to switch off equipment whenever it is not needed – and then rolling them out at Bosch locations around the world: Today, more than 80 percent of locations meet the ISO 14001 environmental standard.


More information on Bosch’s commitment to protecting the environment can be found here

The future of environmental management

An international working group is further developing the ISO 14001 environmental management standard



The International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) ISO/TC 207 technical committee develops global environmental management standards. At the end of May, the committee convened in Panama City for its annual plenary meeting. More than 300 experts and representatives of organizations for standardization discussed the future direction of the ISO 14000 environmental standard series. Germany was represented by a twelve-person delegation, which included representatives of associations, companies, research, and ministries. Bernhard Schwager, Head of Sustainability Office at Bosch, is chairman of the DIN environmental management/environmental audit committee. He attends technical committee meetings on a regular basis and actively contributes to its working groups.


ISO 14001 is the leading global environmental management system. It lays out the policies and actions that organizations, companies, or other bodies need to adopt to ensure sound environmental management. As a global company, Bosch aims to achieve this standard. In 2013, almost 200 of the company's 242 manufacturing and development locations had ISO 14001 certification.


ISO has been working to further develop this standard since 2012 with the aim of adapting it to the challenges of the future. At its core, it will be based on the high-level structure, which aims to provide a comprehensive, harmonized structure and identical concepts for all management system standards. This will make it easier for organizations to introduce and maintain management systems.


The environmental management systems of the future should also reflect the contexts in which individual organizations operate. In past versions of ISO 14001, the organization's impact on the environment was a central factor. Now, the opposite perspective will also be taken into account. In other words: which challenges does the environment pose for the organization, and how does the organization meet them? The revised standard aims to support senior executives in assessing the opportunities and risks for their organizations and the environment, and in making these assessments part of their strategic planning. Moreover, the new standard will encourage boards of management to further strengthen their commitment to their organizations' environmental performance.


The revised version of ISO 14001 will come into force in the middle of 2015. It will replace the current version, which was revised in 2004.