ISO 14001:2004 specifies requirements for an environmental management system to enable an organization to develop and implement a policy and objectives which take into account legal requirements and other requirements to which the organization subscribes, and information about significant environmental aspects. It applies to those environmental aspects that the organization identifies as those which it can control and those which it can influence. It does not itself state specific environmental performance criteria.
ISO 14001:2004 is applicable to any organization that wishes to establish, implement, maintain and improve an environmental management system, to assure itself of conformity with its stated environmental policy, and to demonstrate conformity with ISO 14001:2004 by.
- making a self-determination and self-declaration, or
- seeking confirmation of its conformance by parties having an interest in the organization, such as customers, or
- seeking confirmation of its self-declaration by a party external to the organization, or
- seeking certification/registration of its environmental management system by an external organization.
All the requirements in ISO 14001:2004 are intended to be incorporated into any environmental management system. The extent of the application will depend on factors such as the environmental policy of the organization, the nature of its activities, products and services and the location where and the conditions in which it functions.
ISO 14001:2004 also provides, in Annex A, informative guidance on its use.