Determining environmental aspects is determining how an organization interacts with the environment. For example:
Determining risks and opportunities of an organization, according to ISO 14001:2015, is based on its environmental aspects, compliance obligations, and context and interested parties.
For example, concerning environmental aspects we can have:
Since organizations have to consider the lifecycle of its products and services, do not forget to consider risks and opportunities around your products and services during use or final disposal.
For example, concerning compliance obligations, and context and interested parties we can have for example, the above organization can realize that neighbors (an interested party) are pressuring local authorities to not allow its expansion (an external issue) due to non-compliance with wastewater discharging legislation (compliance obligations) translated into river pollution.
Please check risk definition (3.2.10) on ISO 14001:2015 (effect of uncertainty). With environmental aspects and impacts we are considering normal, expected situations, like startup and closing down operations, but also abnormal and emergency situations. Whenever there is uncertainty there is risk or opportunities, there is a potential deviation from the expected.
About determining risks based on environmental aspects and compliance obligations I see that different organizations follow different approaches:
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 an 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.
Please check this information below with more detailed answers: