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Changes introduced in the 9001:2015 revision are intended to ensure that ISO 9001 continues to adapt to the changing environments in which organisations operate, whereas the changes to ISO 14001:2015 focus on providing...

ISO 9001-2015 and ISO 14001-2015: a Forward Thinking Approach

To be competitive both locally and internationally, organisations must adopt a forward-thinking approach in developing their management strategies. One of the foundations of a successful strategy is sound management systems.

A management system may be well-defined and documented, or consist merely of a shared understanding of how things are done – but either way, the management system defines how work is done, the desired outcomes, and the controls imposed to ensure those outcomes.

Changes introduced in the 9001:2015 revision are intended to ensure that ISO 9001 continues to adapt to the changing environments in which organisations operate, whereas the changes to ISO 14001:2015 focus on providing a framework for the development of environmental management systems that meet stakeholder needs, are market based and support ‘sustainability’.

So, what are the significant changes in ISO 9001-2015 and ISO 14001-2015 that forward-thinking organisations can benefit from?

Quality and Environmental Management

  • From a Quality perspective, risk management is being added with focus on risk-based thinking. Identification of risk and risk control is now a requirement. Risk-based thinking makes preventative action part of the routine.
  • Leadership: The new standards increase the clarity of requirements relating to the role of top management in regard to measurable commitment and involvement.
  • As part of leadership, management should direct and support staff to contribute to the effectiveness of the QMS/EMS, and support those responsible for quality and environmental management.
  • The organisation’s policies and stated goals must be closely aligned with the strategic direction of the business.
  • The management system in support of the policies and stated goals must be merged into business processes.


  • From an ISO 14001 perspective, specific commitments to sustainable development and social responsibility are required. These include:
  • strengthening of attention to subjects such as transparency and accountability within environmental management, issues and performance; and value chain influence and responsibility;
  • putting environmental management more clearly in the perspective of contributing to sustainable development (the ‘planet pillar’ of Social Responsibility) as covered in ISO 26000.

Supply Chain

  • Extending environmental influence into the supply chain, with implications for procurement such as:
    • specifying environmental requirements for the procurement of goods and services;
    • communicating these requirements to suppliers and contractors;
    • considering environmental aspects in the design, development or change of products and services; and
    • providing information about environmental impacts in relation to the delivery of goods and services and in the use and end of life of products.


  • Being able to demonstrate an understanding of the organisation’s environmental compliance status at all times by:
  • taking the necessary actions (e.g. to address non-compliance, actual or potential)
  • maintaining knowledge and understanding of the status of compliance


The IsoMetrix suite of Governance, Risk and Compliance solutions is built on an agile framework which allows modifications to be made within the solutions quickly and easily. Whilst the standards may change regularly, the agility of the framework allows those changes to be addressed and the relevant management systems to be adapted to the new requirements.

The ultra-agile nature of IsoMetrix allows the software to easily adapt to not only specific customer requirements, but to changes in the ISO standards themselves. IsoMetrix allows businesses to have a clear understanding of all risk, trends, overdue activities, and non-conformances. Only what is measured can be improved and IsoMetrix supports improved decision-making through greater visibility of business performance against the ISO standards.