What is ISO 14050:2020 – How it can improve your EMS

Could ISO 14050:2020 help improve your Environmental Management System & its communications?

Everyone wanting to implement and maintain an Environmental Management System will know about ISO 14001:2015 as the key International Standard. However, there are other ISO environmental International Standards.

The newly, published – ISO 14050:2020 is one such International Standard & deals with the vocabulary for environmental management.

Could this International Standard help with developing and enhancing your environmental management system.

This article will look at one of the International Standards, that can be used to support the implementation and maintenance of ISO 14001:2015 & improve and enhance environmental communication.

ISO 14050:2020 was published in the Summer of 2020. Its scope is to define terms used in documents in the fields of environmental management systems and tools in support of sustainable development. These include management systems, auditing and other types of assessment, communications, footprinting studies, greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

It should be noted that there have been three previous editions of ISO 14050:

Therefore, the 2020 4th edition supersedes the 2009 version, which is withdrawn. This fourth edition is structured differently from the third edition. It presents a more generic vocabulary of environmental management terminology, which cover 354 different terms and their definitions, which are applicable across 43 environmental International Standards.

Its structure is designed to simplify the harmonization of terms and definitions in the field of environmental management, each terminological entry in this document contains a generic term and its definition. Notes to entry and examples have been included only in a few cases to provide additional information or clarification.

The terminology is arranged in sub-clauses, each representing a one of the 12 sub-domains.

For example, the first sub-clause is “General terms relating to management systems”. I have highlighted examples of the terms used, such as Interested party, top management, policy, objective, nonconformity plus 16 other terms and definitions

The other sub-clauses and examples of the terms and their definitions are:

3.2 General terms relating to environmental management
Environmental management, ecosystem, prevention of pollution, environmental impact plus 31 other terms and definitions

3.3 Terms relating to environmental management systems
Environmental policy, Compliance obligation, maturity level plus 3 other terms and definitions

3.4 Terms relating to verification, validation and audit
Verification statement, environmental claim, verification, environmental added value plus 47 other terms and definitions

3.5 Terms relating to product systems
Product flow, energy use, fitness for purpose, product environmental criteria plus 24 other terms and definitions

3.6 Terms relating to life cycle assessment
Life cycle inventory analysis, functional unit, intermediate flow plus 48 other terms and definitions

3.7 Terms relating to environmental labelling, declarations and communication
Ecolabelling body, self-declared environmental claim, declared unit plus 20 other terms and definitions

3.8 Terms relating to climate change and climate action
Climate scenario, adaptation to change, environmental integrity, climate change impact plus 22 other terms and definitions

3.9 Terms relating to greenhouse gases
Global warming potential, carbon dioxide equivalent, materiality plus 36 other terms and definitions

3.10 Terms relating to water footprint
Water footprint inventory, water body, drainage basin, elementary water flow plus 20 other terms and definitions

3.11 Terms relating to carbon footprint
Carbon footprint of a product study, carbon offsetting plus 3 other terms and definitions

3.12 Terms relating to economy and finance
Environmental benefit, use value, willingness to pay plus 42 other terms and definitions

So, ISO 14050:2020 can help to clarify any doubts that users of the ISO 14000 series may have concerning terminology and concepts, which is particularly important given the key role communication plays in the standards.

A copy of ISO 14050:2020 can be obtained from ISO or your local National Standards Body.
The following links are a selection of the main Standards Bodies given in the table below:

Standards BodyWebsite
Standards Canadahttps://global.ihs.com/search_res.cfm?&input_doc_number=ISO%2014050&input_doc_title=
Standards Australiahttps://www.techstreet.com/searches/29262829

I hope that this article has given you an insight into the value of using ISO 14050:2020 to support the development and maintenance of your ISO 14001:2015 management system. Any questions on this episode, please leave a comment below.

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