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Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates(ISO 14001:2004 version)User Manual-Chapter I

Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates
(ISO 14001 : 2004 version)
User Manual
September 2005


Chapter I


ISO 14001 EMS Support Package for SMEs


A.   What is this Package?

B.   Who should read what in this package?

C.   How is this manual structured?

D.   How to use this support package?

E.   General tips for using the Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates

F.    What is an Environmental Management System?

A. What is this package?

More and more companies are implementing Environmental Management Systems (EMS) to reduce their environmental impacts, improve their efficiency, comply with legislation and demonstrate to clients their commitment to environmental protection. Many companies have chosen to obtain independent certification of their EMS to the international standard ISO 14001[1]. Due to copyright laws, the ISO 14001 Standard could not be provided in this package. Meanwhile, the ISO 14001 could be purchased through various sources[2] .

[1] International Organization for Standardization
[2] The Standard can be purchased through the Product Standards Information Bureau of the Innovative and Technology Commission, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (, local certification body agencies, or online purchasing through ISO (

The Business Environment Council and Environmental Protection Department, HKSAR have developed a Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) support package for ISO 14001 EMS implementation, in order to :


1) Provide assistance to local SMEs (with manufacturing activities in Hong Kong and/or in Shenzhen) to stay competitive in the environmentally-conscious world business market;
2) Help the local SMEs to get prepared for future supply chain pressure in ISO 14001 EMS; and
3) Enhance the environmental performance of local SMEs

This EMS support package is designed to help local SMEs to implement an effective EMS. The support package, provided in English and Chinese, comprises


Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates - to be used as a basis of an EMS by companies, which can tailor them to suit their specific needs.
User Manual - with easy-to-use guidance on how to apply the Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates in your company and work progressively towards successful EMS implementation.
Practical Examples of ISO 14001 EMS - with practical document examples and procedures for typical companies in the construction sector for further guidance.

This User Manual and Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates are designed to be of assistance to any SME in any sector. Additional Practical Examples of ISO 14001 EMS are also provided for SMEs in various trades of the construction sector. The trades covered by the Practical Examples of ISO 14001 EMS are listed in Table 1.


Table 1. List of Trades Provided with Practical Examples of ISO 14001 EMS in this Support Package.


Document Examples



Wan Bao Construction Company

Hong Kong


B. Who should read what in this package?

An effective EMS requires the involvement of all staff in your organisation, from top management to the workshop floor. Although an "EMS Manager" or "Coordinator" will be nominated to take day-to-day responsibility, other staff will be involved in various ways. Different parts of this support package should be read by the relevant people as follows :



Which part to read

What will you learn

Top Management

User Manual (Introduction, and sections on policy and EMS manual)

General perspectives on ISO 14001

The resources needed for a successful EMS

EMS Manager / Coordinator

This User Manual, the Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates, and Practical Examples of ISO 14001 EMS

How to develop tailored EMS documentation

How to implement an effective EMS

How to achieve ISO 14001 certification or self-declaration

Department Heads

User Manual and Practical Examples of ISO 14001 EMS

How your functions need to support the EMS

Frontline Staff

Practical Examples of ISO 14001 EMS

The environmental impacts related to your daily working activities, and how they can be controlled.

C. How is this manual structured?


Section I : ISO 14001 EMS Support Package for SMEs

Describes this package and how it should be used. Summarises ISO 14001 EMS concepts, with an overview of the development and implementation approach.

Section II : EMS Planning

Describes the process for planning an EMS, including guidance on how to undertake an "Initial Environmental Review" as the first step.

Section III : EMS Development and Implementation

Provides detailed guidance on how each element of the EMS should be designed and documented, and describes how to use the Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates to develop and implement your own EMS.

Section IV : ISO 14001 EMS Certification Process

Explains the general ISO 14001 certification process and steps involved leading to ISO 14001 certification.

D.  How to use this support package?
This support package provides practical help in developing your EMS using the following steps :

1) Work through this step-by-step User Manual and Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates to see what documents and resources are required
2) Review the Practical Examples of ISO 14001 EMS to see how an effective EMS is implemented in a typical company similar to yours
3) Create your own EMS documents based on the Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates
4) Launch your EMS within your company and check compliance of its implementation against the ISO 14001 requirements
5) Apply for ISO 14001 certification if your management decide to pursue, or make a self-declaration without third party assessment.

Linkages to download relevant documents and helpful websites are underlined in blue colour. For instance, the link to relevant Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates and Practical Examples of ISO 14001 EMS are indicated as Download (Template) Download (Sample).

Helpful tips are provided throughout this User Manual to give some handy and practical hints on developing and implementing a successful EMS within your company.

Case specific information in Practical Examples of ISO 14001 EMS is highlighted in red colour to help you creating your EMS documents.

E. General tips for the Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates

The following are some general tips for using the Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates to create your own EMS:

Replace COMPANY NAME with your company's name in all of the Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates.
(Italicised) words in brackets are hints for the information specific to your company that should be inserted in that section.
Italicised words highlighted in purple colour show the practices usually adopted by your industry, but can be changed to reflect your company's culture and practices.
Document number is highlighted in green colour for easy reference and can be amended to your company's preferred numbering system.

The Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates are developed based on the ISO 14001:2004, which is the second edition and issued on 15 November 2004.

Since ISO 14001 shares common management system principles with the ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) standard, your company may select to use its existing ISO 9001 as the basis for its EMS. You can integrate new EMS features into relevant QMS procedures already in place.

F. What is an Environmental Management System

An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a continual business cycle of planning, implementing, reviewing and improving the processes and actions that your company undertakes to meet its environmental obligations and continually improve its environmental performance. An effective EMS is developed on "Plan, Do, Check, Act" (PDCA) model which embodies the concept of continual improvement.

Figure 1. "Plan, Do, Check, Act" model

Figure 1. "Plan, Do, Check, Act" model

1. International EMS Standards
a) ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems - Requirements with guidance for use

is an international standard which specifies the requirements of an environmental management system.
provides a framework applicable to all types and sizes of organisations using the approach shown in Figure 2.
the success of the system depends on commitment from all levels and functions, especially from top management.
enables an organisation to establish and assess the effectiveness of procedures, to develop an environmental policy and objectives, achieve conformity with them, and demonstrate such conformity to others.

Figure 2. ISO 14001 Overview

Figure 2 ISO14001 Overview: Environmental Policy→Planning→
Implementation and Operation→Checking→Management Review (Continual Improvement)

Continual Improvement

  1. Environmental Policy
  2. Planning
  3. Implementation and Operation
  4. Checking
  5. Management Review

b) The Evolution of ISO 14001

ISO 14001 EMS standard was first published in 1996 and has been technically revised in 2004, the second edition ISO 14001:2004, issued on 15 November 2004, cancels and replaces the first edition ISO 14001:1996. This EMS standard is adopted worldwide by organisations for certifying ISO 14001 EMS.  The standard was prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 207, Environmental management, subcommittee SC 1, Environmental management systems.  The Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates provided in this package are developed based on ISO 14001:2004.  

The comparison between the ISO 14001:1996 standard and ISO 14001:2004 standard is summarised in Appendix 1 to this User Manual. This international standard is based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model. The linkage of the clauses of elements in ISO 14001 Standard with PDCA is illustrated in the following table.

Table 2. Comparing the PDCA cycle to the ISO 14001:2004 Standard

PDCA Cycle

ISO 14001:2004 Standard

4.2. Environmental Policy


4.3. Planning
4.3.1. Environmental Aspects
4.3.2. Legal and Other Requirements
4.3.3. Objectives, Targets and Programme(s)


4.4. Implementation and Operation
4.4.1. Resources, Roles, Responsibility and Authority
4.4.2. Competence, Training and Awareness
4.4.3. Communication
4.4.4. Documentation
4.4.5. Control of Documents
4.4.6. Operational Control
4.4.7. Emergency Preparedness and Response


4.5. Checking
4.5.1. Monitoring and Measurement
4.5.2. Evaluation of Compliance
4.5.3. Nonconformity, Corrective Action and Preventive Action
4.5.4. Control of Records
4.5.5. Internal Audit


4.6. Management Review

2. Approach to EMS Development and Implementation

his support package recommends the four-step "PDCA" approach to implementing an EMS, since this is the approach taken by most ISO 14001 certified companies. When an EMS is to be initially set-up, two preparatory steps (initial planning and management commitment) are also recommended as shown in Figure 3.

Although these steps are not mandatory requirements under ISO 14001, these steps are useful to facilitate the development and implementation of the EMS in accordance with the ISO 14001.

Figure 3. Approach to EMS Development and Implementation

Figure 3 Approach to EMS Development and Implementation: Preparation (initial EMS Planning and Management Commitment)→Plan→Do→Check→Act

  • Preparation Initial EMS Planning *
  • Preparation Management Commitment
  • Phase I Plan
  • Phase II Do
  • Phase III Check
  • Phase IV Act

* Initial EMS Planning is not an ISO 14001 Standard requirement; however, it is useful preparation work to facilitate the set up and development of the EMS in accordance with the ISO 14001 Standard.

The different tasks for each phase and the relevant Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates that you can use are shown in Table 3. In addition, Table 3 illustrates the estimated time that each phase of EMS development and implementation usually takes for a typical company. The detailed implementation of each phase is described throughout the rest of this User Manual.

Table 3. Phased EMS Implementation Flow



Useful Generic ISO 14001 EMS Templates / Practical Examples of ISO 14001 EMS


Initial EMS Planning[3]

Baseline assessment

Initial Environmental Review checklist

Gap analysis report

2 weeks

Management Commitment

Environmental Policy

2 weeks


Environmental Aspect (EA) identification

Environmental Aspect Register

2 weeks - 1 month

Identification & compliance with legal and other requirements

Legal and other requirements register

2 weeks

Evaluating environmental aspects

Environmental aspect identification and evaluation procedure

2 weeks - 1 month

Developing Objectives & Targets with Programmes

List of objectives, targets and programmes

2 weeks


Developing EMS documentation

EMS Manual

EMS procedures

1 month

Developing operational control procedures

Operational control procedures and work instructions

1-2 months

Implementation of the EMS

Organisation chart & responsibilities

Training plan

Training materials

Guidance notes for supplier control

Communication records

Forms for implementing procedures

2-3 months


Checking, audit

Monitoring plan

Audit plan

Audit checklist

Audit report

Corrective action & preventive action report

1 month



Management review report

2 weeks


8 - 12 months

ISO 14001 Certification [4]


Self-declaration of ISO 14001 EMS adoption

[3] Initial EMS Planning is not an ISO 14001 Standard requirement.

[4] ISO 14001 Certification Process refers to Chapter IV in this manual.


Go to Next Section: EMS Planning

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