How is the ISO 14001:2015 Transition going?

How is the ISO 14001:2015 Transition going?In my earlier post (Has ISO 14001:2015 stalled?), I looked at the ISO Survey information to see the take-up of ISO 14001:2015. Now one year on, a new ISO Survey for 2017 has been published. So what is new in this important survey published with less than nine days before the transition deadline (15 September 2018).

This year’s survey results show a weakening of interest in the two main Management Systems Standards (MSS) with a decline from the 8% growth for ISO 14001 evidenced in last year’s survey to 4% in this year’s survey & a more dramatic decline from 7% growth for ISO 9001 certification last year to a decline to negative 4% in this year’s survey.

Even more telling last year (2017) was the lack of reporting on the low number of organisations, who have made the transition to ISO 14001:2015 & ISO 9001:2015 in the traditional environmental media. Is the evidence from this years’ survey able to offer any more positive news.

The most recent figures (as at 31 December 2017) show a mixed result for the transition. Positive evidence can been seen of the 201,807 ISO 14001:2015 certificates that have been issued globally against a dwindling number of ISO 14001:2004 certificates (160,803).

As evidence in the ISO Survey and illustrated in the chart below, there is a shortfall of 160,803 ISO 14001:2004 certificates belonging to organisations, which have not made the transition to ISO 14001:2015 as at 31 December 2017.

Chart: Progress towards ISO 14001:2015 TransitionThis means that, only, just over half of organisations (55.65%) have made the transition based on the number of certificates. With only nine days before the soft deadline of 15 September 2018 (for the completion of all transition audits and remaining validity of ISO 14001:2004 certificates) & the hard deadline of 15 March 2019 (for the resolution of any nonconformities, this means there are a significant body of organisations that may miss their transition to ISO 14001:2015.

The situation for ISO 9001:2015 certification is even less secure with only 439,471 (45.5 %) organisations have made the transition against 619,033 organisations, who still retain ISO 9001:2008 certification.

This low number of transitioned organisations places undue pressure on certification bodies and their auditors to keep up with the workload. Whilst many organisations are likely to transition at their next audit in 2018, there will be a significant number that may not meet the requirements of the International Standards by the 15 September 2018 & will require further review of their non-conformities and even additional audits in the run-up to the 15 March 2019 deadline.

These pressures for additional auditing can affect the ability to certification bodies to manage their auditing resources to meet client demand and could lead to an impact on the integrity of the certification and auditing process.

I remain optimistic that a large number of organisations will make their transition successfully as many may have already made their transition since the survey results were recorded for 31 December 2017 but we, all, should share in a concern that the integrity of the certification and auditing process could be affected.

If you have any comments on the analysis in this article or want to share your experiences of your ISO 14001:2015 transition, please leave a comment.

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  1. Thanks for the update, Andrew. It is interesting that the take-up was so low by the end of 2017. However, within my network, I am aware of many organisations who went through in the last 6 months. This is also, potentially, a good news: that the certification bodies are taking the new requirements (such as life-cycle and leadership seriously). I hear mixed stories about transition audits in this respect. One company told me their transition audit ‘was no different to the old audits’, while I know of another who received a dozen major NC against clauses 4, 5 and 6. I would love to know if, and how, UKAS have ensured consistency of approach to the new requirements (especially those associated with life-cycle in 14001:2015).

    1. Thank you for your post – Marek
      I am optimistic that the majority of organisations will pass their ISO 14001:2015 transition &, at the same time, share your concerns about the potential inconsistencies that I hear from the marketplace especially with respects to the auditing of the life-cycle perspective requirement.

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