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Identifying the risks and opportunities related to the environmental aspects

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Guest user Created:   Oct 21, 2019 Last commented:   Oct 21, 2019

Identifying the risks and opportunities related to the environmental aspects

Of course, I read with pleasure your articles which helped me a lot in understanding the new requirements; but there remains one point which I hope to be able to clarify with you and with your help.

Of course, like many environmental practitioners, there is still doubt and misunderstanding about the notion of "risks and opportunities applicable to the EMS.

I understood that the sources of risks and opportunities are:

  • environmental aspects,
  • compliance obligations
  • the problems and requirements arising from the context review.

Now and from my understanding I must first:

  • identify and evaluate the environmental aspects to be able to identify those that are significant (of course with a choice of adapted criteria in order to have the hierarchy of the aspects)
  • identify all legal requirements applicable to the organization
  • identify requirements related to the context of the organization (pestel analysis)

My biggest problem is this:

How to identify the risks and opportunities related to the environmental aspects?

After having identified the significant aspects, do I have to make a risk analysis on each significant aspect with another rating grid (and what will be the criteria to consider)?

This is the only point that can not yet be mastered well.

I hope that you will understand my questioning and that you will be able to help me better understand this specific point.

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Carlos Pereira da Cruz Oct 21, 2019

What a great question! When I first started to work with ISO 14001:2015 I had the same question and expected a unique answer, but after some investigation and reflection, I concluded that there is more than one way to handle the challenge. Each organization should pick the option that best suits its particular situation.

1. There are organizations that determine their environmental aspects and use a risk and opportunities assessment to determine its significant environmental aspects. (Please see the end of the second paragraph of Annex A.6.1.1 of ISO 14001:2015)


2. There are organizations that determine their environmental aspects evaluate them and determine the significant ones and use a risk and opportunities assessment to determine which ones need and action plan, and which ones need only to be monitored.


3. There are organizations that only apply the risk-based approach to the context part. In a certain way they are following the same approach as 1 without explicitly mentioning it.

Currently I’m having two ISO 14001 implementation projects in an industrial context and I use the approach number 2. My second rating system is very simple and based on:

  • Do we not comply with legislation?
  • Improving will be aligned with our strategy?
  • Improving will have a good return?

A Yes to any of the questions determine that an action plan is needed.

The following material will provide you more information about aspects and impacts:

- Article - 4 steps in identification and evaluation of environmental aspects - https://advisera.com/14001academy/knowledgebase/4-steps-in-identification-and-evaluation-of-environmental-aspects/
- Environmental aspect identification and classification - https://advisera.com/14001academy/blog/2019/08/27/key-iso-14001-benefits-to-customers/nowledgebase/environmental-aspect-identification-and-classification/
- Free webinar - Free webinar - ISO 14001: Identification and evaluation of environmental aspects - https://advisera.com/14001academy/webinar/iso-14001-identification-and-evaluation-of-environmental-aspects-free-webinar/-evaluation-of-environmental-aspects-free-webinar-on-demand/
- Book – The ISO 14001:2015 Companion - https://advisera.com/books/the-iso-14001-2015-companion/

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Oct 21, 2019

Oct 21, 2019

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