This is the fifth in a series of blogs, in which we will describe what is required by an organisation so that it may meet the requirements of ISO 14001:2015. We will look at clause 5 Leadership.
Clause 5: Leadership
This clause provides guidance on how the organisation demonstrates leadership and commitment in relation to the environmental management system in its development, implementation and improvement.
This clause encompasses the following:
- Demonstrating leadership and commitment;
- Developing an environmental policy;
- Outlining roles, responsibilities and authorities for the environmental management system
Clause 5.1: Leadership and Commitment
Leadership, commitment and active support from top management are critical for the success of your environmental management system and for the achievement of its intended outcomes.
Top management establishes an organisation’s mission, vision and values, considering its context, the needs and expectations of its relevant interested parties, and business objectives. These are reflected in its strategic business plans. Top management’s leadership and commitment are vital for the successful implementation of an effective environmental management system. As such, top management must take responsibility for the effectiveness of the organisation’s environmental management system and ensure its intended outcomes are achieved.
If employees observe top management taking environmental responsibility seriously this will greatly assist in the establishment of a positive environmental culture throughout the organisation.
Leadership and commitment can be shown by:
- Aligning the environmental management system with the organisation’s business objectives;
- Ensuring the necessary resources are available;
- Encouraging employees and other relevant interested parties to become actively involved in improving environmental performance;
- Involving everyone in environmental decisions that affects them;
- Promoting open discussion about environmental matters.
The organisation can improve the environmental culture, by:
- Providing clear and consistent leadership;
- Promoting formal and informal involvement of employees;
Top management should communicate the importance of effective environmental management and conformance to environmental management system requirements by direct involvement or through delegation of authority, as appropriate. This communication can be formal or informal.
Top management should support others in the organisation in relevant managerial roles so that they in turn can demonstrate leadership in their own area of responsibility. Through this means, top management’s leadership and commitment cascades down through the organisation. By demonstrating leadership and commitment, top management can direct and support employees of the organisation and others doing work on its behalf to achieve the intended outcomes of its environmental management system.
The organisation is in a better position to achieve its environmental objectives and to identify opportunities for improvement when top management creates a culture that encourages people at all levels to actively participate in the environmental management system.
Clause 5.1 Leadership and Commitment – Quick Check
- Has top management for the scope of the environmental management system been identified?
- Have you identified relevant external environmental conditions?
- Has top management ensured that the environmental policy is established?
- Has top management ensured that the environmental policy is compatible with the strategic direction and context of the organisation?
- Has top management ensured that environmental objectives have been established?
- Has top management ensured that the environmental objectives are compatible with the strategic direction and context of the organisation?
- Has top management ensured that adequate resources are provided for the environmental management system?
- Does top management ensure that environmental management system requirements are integrated into the organisation’s business processes?
- Does top management promote continual improvement?
- Does top management support managers to enable them to demonstrate leadership in their roles?
- Does top management others within the organisation to contribute to the effectiveness of the environmental management system?
- Does top management ensure the environmental management system achieves its intended outcomes?