According to the ISO 14001 standard, “an environmental aspect is an element of an organization’s activities, products, or services that has or may have an impact on the environment” and environmental impacts are “any change to the environment, whether adverse or beneficial, wholly or partially resulting from an organization’s environmental aspects.”
The main phase of the implementation of the ISO 14001 standard is identifying all environmental aspects of your organization’s activities and requires a lot of attention throughout its development.
Prior to the identification of the environmental aspects and impacts, the organization must establish its process mapping, with the objective of optimizing identification tools with inputs that can facilitate the amendment stage. Another key factor in this stage is to have a multidisciplinary team, which will take part in the identification process and legitimize the entire process.
Next, the organization must determine the aspects that have or may have significant impacts on the environment, the so-called significant environmental aspects. These must be taken into account in the establishment, implementation and maintenance of its environmental management system.
The development of the environmental management system depends on an effective process in the identification of environmental aspects, this way the organization can prioritize their control, quantify their environmental risk and transform that tool into the main focus for continuous improvement.