Sustainability Going Sustainable

News, trends, ideas and insight on how to build sustainable business performance

10 things you need to know about the ISO 2015 revisions – STEP 3

10 things you need to know about the ISO 2015 revisions – STEP 3

In my previous two blogs I covered the overall approach and timelines for the revisions of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, and the common Higher Level Structure (HLS) being adopted for both. This blog is where we start discussing the actual Higher Level Structure Clauses.

STEP 3: Clauses 1, 2 and 3

A quick reminder of the 10 Clauses of the HLS- this blog covers Clauses 1, 2 and 3.

1 Scope
2 Normative References
3 Terms and references
4 Context of the organization
5 Leadership
6 Planning
7 Support
8 Operation
9 Performance evaluation
10 Improvement

To summarize what we are covering:

Clause 0: Introduction
Clause 1: Scope
Clause 2: Normative References
Clause 3: Terms and Definitions

Clause 0: Introduction -This is the preamble to the HLS clauses of the standards. Quite a lot has changed with this Clause, particularly for ISO 14001, because when I wrote the last version of this I only had the CD2 of 14001 to look at!

The key points on Clause 0:

  • This Clause is very clear about the importance of a management system as part of the strategic governance and structure of organizations.
  • Both standards include a Plan-Do-Check-Act diagram which incorporates the key clauses and where they fit into the cycle. The ISO 9001:2015 standard also includes a schematic of the key elements of a process-based approach.
  • Both standards also include some basic interpretation of the meaning of the terms “shall”, “should”, “may” and “can” as used in the standards.
  • The importance of a process approach to management systems and risk-based thinking are discussed in ISO 9001:2015.
  • There is also a very good and focused overview of “risk-based thinking”: this covers the need for an organization to consider all aspects of risk, and the fact that the revisions to 9001 (and 14001) bring the concept of risk to the fore as a generic and fundamental term. Hurrah!
  • Whilst we are the topic of introductions and preamble, it is also worth mentioning the very useful information and discussions contained in Annex A of each standard.
    – In ISO 9001:2015 there is a brief informative Annex A covering some key areas, including structure, context, risk-based thinking and organizational knowledge, BUT there is also some very good content in ISO 9000:2015 Clause 2 on fundamental concepts and quality management principles.
    – The ISO 14001:2015 standard contains more content in Annex A, covering guidance to each clause and providing some excellent clarifications on the standard and its content.
  • DNV GL have been advocating a risk-based approach to certification since we introduced the Risk Based Certification methodology in 2004, utilizing Focus Areas to audit in depth more critical aspects of a business. This approach will continue to fit well with the 9001 and 14001 revisions, and with the Next Generation Risk Based Certification (NGRBC) approach from DNV GL we will be enhancing this process further to support you through the 9001 and 14001 revisions and audit journey.

Clause 1: Scope – This is simply a heading in the HLS, so for ISO 9001 ISO 14001 the Committees have been given free rein to put what they want in it. For 9001 it is quite punchy- it covers consistently meeting customer requirements, statutory requirements and regulatory requirements, and aiming to enhance customer satisfaction. With 14001, those concepts are also captured in the principles of enhancement of environmental performance, fulfilling compliance obligations and achievement of environmental objectives..

Clause 2 and Clause 3: Normative References and Terms and Definitions – This one is straightforward- ISO 14001:2015 has no normative references, BUT ISO 9001:2105 references ISO 9000:2015. As I explained in the new Blog 1 ISO Publication and Beyond, there is a divergence of approach here, with ISO 14001:2015 including all of their Terms and Definitions under Clause 3, but ISO 9001:2015 referring to those in the separate ISO 9000:2015 standard. This may be due to the fact that ISO 9000:2015 contains 20 pages of definitions, whilst ISO 14001:2015 only has 7 pages of terms and definitions.

Overall- the two standards are more aligned than the previous DIS/FDIS versions, but the information, particularly guidance and information, is contained within different places and under different sections, annexes and also in the separate ISO 9000:2015 standard.

In Step 4, I will look at one of the more significant areas of change- Clause 4: The Context of the Organization.


Contact us to prepare: Transition to the ISO 2015 revisions

Do you have questions related to  the ISO 9001:2015 & ISO 14001:2015 revisions? Post them in our LinkedIn group , and our auditors Doug Milne and Niall Pembery will get back to you.


Leave a Reply

Going Sustainable Videos