Doing an ISO 14001 Gap Analysis

Monitoring the environment-1-1

Whether you are starting from ‘scratch’ or whether you already have an Environmental Management System, a Gap Analysis is essential to establish which are the issues and topics that require correction or improvement, and which may inform your ISO 14001 EMS Implementation Project.

How to Get Started with Performing an ISO 14001 Gap Analysis

To start an ISO 14001 gap analysis, you would want to use the services of a person experienced in ISO 14001 (environmental management systems), perhaps yourself or a member of your Project Team.

The ISO 14001:2015 Gap Analysis Tool provided as part of our ISO 14001 training programme (ISO 14001 Lead Implementer Course) documentation is ideal for this purpose.

If in doubt about the interpretation of any particular requirements, and your current status against it, you are recommended to consult ISO 14004:2016, the guidance standard.


Download the ISO 14001:2015 Gap Analysis Tool


ISO 14001 Gap Analysis Checklist Sample 

If you need more help in getting started, here's a sample page from the ISO 14001:2015 Gap Analysis Tool that you can use for yourself.

ISO 14001 Gap Analysis Checklist

Clause Number and Question Notes and Guidelines Policy Procedure Reference and Comments
g) directing and supporting persons to contribute to the effectiveness of the environmental management systems;        
h) promoting continual improvement;        
i) supporting other relevant management roles to demonstrate their leadership as it applies to their areas of responsibility.        
Reference to "business" in this international standard can be interpreted broadly to mean those activities that are core to the purposes of the organization's existence.
5.2 Environmental Policy

Top management shall establish, implement, and maintain an environmental policy that, within the defined scope of its environmental management system;
a) is appropriate to the purpose and context of the organization, including the nature, scale, and environmental impacts of its activities, products, and services        
b) provides a framework for setting environmental objectives;        
c) includes a commitment to the protection of the environment, including prevention of pollution and other specific commitment(s) relevant to the context of the organization; NOTE:
Other specific commitment(s) to protect the environment can include sustainable resource use, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and protection of biodiversity and ecosystems.
d) includes a commitment to fulfill its compliance obligations;        
e) includes a commitment to continual improvement of the environmental management system to enhance environmental performance.        
The environmental policy shall:        
  • be maintained as documented information;
  • be communicated within the organization;
  • be available to interested parties.

— Element not developed      Element partially developed      ✓✓ Element substantially developed      ✓✓✓ Element fully developed and effective


Assessing Your Compliance with ISO 14001 Requirements

The usual approach to categorising your compliance with the individual requirements of ISO 14001 is to mark your organisation:

√√√  fully compliant with the requirement – no change to current practice required

√√   partially compliant with the requirement – some change to current practice required

√     little compliance with the requirement – significant change to current practice required

X     noncompliant with the requirement – significant change, perhaps disruptive, required

Benefits of Performing a Gap Analysis:

  • You get a detailed and categorised list of current deficiencies against the requirements of ISO 14001:2015. 
  • You get a solid foundation from which to develop a feasible EMS Project Plan.
  • You can identify opportunities for improvement in your current EMS.


See our overview of our ISO 14001 Training Courses to learn more or check out our ISO 14001 FAQ post to see answers to frequently asked questions about the standard, relevant training, and eventual certification.

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Written by Dr John FitzGerald

Director & Founder of deGRANDSON Global. Spent 15 years in the manufacturing industry and 25 years training, consulting & auditing management systems
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