The ISO 14001 environmental standard is partly based on the British Standard, BS 7750, the first comprehensive environmental management system specification document to be produced.
The new standards were developed by the Technical Committee TC 207 of the International Standards Organisation.
According to John D. Wolfe, former secretary of TC 207, ISO 14001 'will be appropriate for business of all kinds, all sizes, all types. It is the key to meeting the environmental demands of consumers, suppliers, bankers, investors and legislators. At the same time, it is an opportunity to improve efficiency and competitive ability'.
At the ISO fourth plenary meeting in Brazil in June, the committee gave final approval for the draft standards.
The panel gave priority to the development of a specification document (14001) and guidance document (14004). These are expected to be published ahead of others in the series of environmental management standards.
The technical committee will now turn its attention to the implementation of ISO 14001 and the use of ISO 14004, which is also due for publication soon.
According to last month's ISO Bulletin, the committee 'is giving particular attention to the needs of small and medium enterprises', and the panel would set up a project team to find out whether there was a need for a standards guide for small and medium enterprises.
The following are the ISO 14000 standards and the scope of each one: ISO 14001 - environmental management system specification.
ISO 14004 - environmental management systems general guidelines on principles, systems and supporting techniques.
ISO 14010 - guidelines for general auditing.
ISO 14020 - labelling standards.
ISO 14030 - environmental performance evaluation.
ISO 14040 - life cycle assessment standards.
ISO 14050 - terms and definitions.
ISO 14060 - product standard guide.
For more information write to ISO at: ISO Central Secretariat, 1, Rue de Varembe, CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland. (Tel: 41-22 749-01-11; Telefax: 41-22 733-34-30; Internet: allenisocs.iso.ch).