Certification of environmental management systems according to ISO 14001

What is ISO 14001?

ISO 14001 is a globally recognised standard for establishing and operating an environmental management system with the aim of continuously improving environmental performance.

Environmental performance is defined in the EN ISO 14001:2015 standard as the "measurable result of the management of environmental aspects in an organisation" and thus analyses all "activities, products or services of an organisation that interact or could interact with the environment".

Since the publication of the environmental standard in 1996, well over 300,000 companies and organisations have been certified according to ISO 14001. There are many reasons for implementation, because an environmental management system according to ISO 14001:2015 has many advantages, which in total significantly increase competitiveness.

What are the benefits of ISO 14001 certification?

Certification of your environmental management system (EMS) according to ISO 14001 guarantees continuous improvement of your environmental performance and cost reduction through the economical use of raw materials and energy.

Further advantages are:

  • organisational optimisation
  • prompt recognition of opportunities and risks and appropriate action
  • legal protection of managers
  • Transparency and credibility through active stakeholder communication
  • verifiable improvement of environmental performance through key figures
  • Contribution to climate protection
  • Motivation of employees to contribute their potential (facilitated recruiting)
    Value enhancement of the brand, acceleration of approval procedures
  • Fiscal and regulatory relief

For which organisation is ISO 14001 certification relevant?


Regardless of whether you are active in the processing and manufacturing industry with plastics, metals, food and pharmaceuticals, in energy or waste management, in services or logistics, the environment concerns us all!

With an accredited environmental management system according to ISO 14001, you send a clear signal of your commitment. This applies to the smallest company as well as to a public authority or a large corporation.

Once a management system according to ISO 14001 has been structured, it can be expanded into a sustainability management system at any time by integrating further topics, such as social or climate aspects.

You can find the right contact person for your specific concerns directly via our sector pages.




The requirements that must be met for certification according to ISO 14001 result from the current revision of the standard, currently that of 2015.

A good basis and a detailed overview of the requirements for setting up an environmental management system as well as preparing for certification according to ISO 14001 is provided in our guide.

Furthermore, we have listed the audit requirements in a detailed checklist for ISO 14001. You will receive the checklist with a certification order via your exclusive access to our download area. This way, you can optimally prepare for the audit.

The scope of documentation required in the current edition of the standard from 2015 is relatively small and refutes the common prejudice that it is only about documenting processes and activities.

Explicitly required are, for example, an environmental policy (5.2), environmental goals (6.2), reports of internal audits (9.2.2) and the management review (9.3).

More relevant, however, are the requirements and records that a company commits itself to documenting for internal or external considerations. You can obtain comprehensive information on this in our course on Environmental Officer according to ISO 14001:2015.

The process of certification according to ISO 14001 is based on the specifications of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the specifications of the German Accreditation Body GmbH (DAkkS) for the certification of management systems DIN EN ISO/IEC 17021-1.

We accompany our customers on the profitable path to an environmental management system through competent contact persons from the specific sector. Our certification process, which has been tried and tested for many years, can be flexibly adapted to the specific requirements of your company.

If you have any questions, please contact us personally or simply request a non-binding offer online.

No, ISO 14001 is neither a sustainability nor a climate management system, but an environmental management system.

At the moment, there is no accredited sustainability or climate management system. However, due to the intensive examination of its own environmental impacts, ISO 14001 is a good basis for including the ecological aspects of sustainability.

And of course we want to help you make your company more sustainable and lay the foundations for a sustainability or climate management system. With us, you can have your sustainability report validated according to the GRI and DNK standards and thus present your ecological and social corporate commitment to interested parties (stakeholders) according to recognised standards.

If you want to focus more on the climate neutrality aspect, we recommend a combined audit of your environmental management with a greenhouse gas balance verification.

Our managing director and long-time environmental auditor and verifier Prof. Dr.-Ing. Lieback has explained in a video what needs to be considered when integrating a climate management system into an environmental management system.
Further information on the subject can be found, for example, at the Federal Environment Agency or on the website Klimaneutralität.de.

ISO 14001 is reviewed approximately every five years to ensure that it is up to date. Evaluations of regular user surveys conducted by the responsible ISO Committee TC 207 are also included in this process. According to the committee's current statement, no revision is currently planned.

The "environmental context" of an organisation forms the background for a decision on the scope of the "scope" of the EMS and its strategic orientation. According to the standard, the organisation should use this to define the boundaries of the EMS within the organisation.

The following questions can help to define the scope:

  • What are the spatial, postal and physical boundaries? (Locations, branches, subsidiaries).
  • What activities take place within the physical boundaries of the organisation?
  • What upstream and downstream activities exist for manufacturing products or providing services?
  • What are the requirements for upstream and downstream activities?
  • Are there upstream and downstream processes that the organisation can influence?

The following figure illustrates the chronological sequence of EMS implementation in relation to the associated effort. The greatest effort is associated with determining the actual situation of the organisation in terms of its environmental performance, existing structures and compliance. This creates the essential data basis.

The EMS now delivers results and can be used. If the environmental data are continuously updated, improvement measures can be planned and implemented in a controlled manner on this basis. A sensible documentation of processes, procedures, responsibilities and deadlines ensures a smooth process.
This reduces the effort over time compared to initial certification.

An ISO 14001 certificate is valid for three years. The certificate is maintained through annual review audits. After every three years, the ISO 14001 certification can be extended by another three years through recertification.

GUTcert has been a reliable and competent partner for GRÜNPERGA Papier GmbH for many years in terms of certification and verification and has always been a constructive companion in our improvement processes

Christian Gericke (GRÜNPERGA Papier GmbH)

[Translated with DeepL]

We would particularly like to emphasise the good and professional service in the organisation of our ISO 14001 certification, which made the entire process run smoothly. In addition, the GUTcert Academy's training courses in environmental management are extremely helpful and have helped us to optimise our processes and make them more sustainable. Many thanks to the GUTcert team, we look forward to continuing our co-operation.

Jens Grossmann (RYGOL DÄMMSTOFFE GmbH & Co. KG)

[Translated with DeepL]

The long period of cooperation since 1997/98 is proof enough of the valued and trusting collaboration. Anyone who voluntarily takes on EMAS and the ISO standards needs a reliable and  practice-orientated certifier like GUTcert.

Bernhard Gillner (Aluminium Norf GmbH)

[Translated with DeepL]

The ISO 14001 certification by GUTcert helps us to break new ground in order to create a more CO2-friendly future. The cooperation with the GUTcert auditor is very harmonious and always on an equal footing.

Maximilian Becker (thomas betonbauteile)

[Translated with DeepL]

Our audit manager was well informed, the implementation was competent and always on time.

Achim Wetzel (IDR-Entsorgungsgesellschaft mbH)

[Translated with DeepL]

In the years of cooperation, we have had various auditors in our company, but all of them were competent, honest, fair and you could immediately recognise that they were interested in advancing the company. The successful co-operation is already evident from the fact that Vosseler GmbH has been able to continuously improve and develop its management systems over the period of certification by GUTcert.

Martin-Werner Fazekas (Vosseler GmbH)

[Translated with DeepL]

Joint ISO 14001 certification with other standards

On the basis of an environmental management system, other management systems can usually be implemented in an uncomplicated manner - e.g. for quality, energy, greenhouse gas balancing or occupational safety. The introduction of the High Level Structure (HLS) has significantly simplified the integration of management systems.

Many of our experienced auditors are accredited for different systems, which is why we also offer integrated and combined certification procedures at home and abroad.

If your company has introduced several management systems, they can be audited and certified in combination. ISO 14001 can also be audited in combination with regular sustainability reporting.
With these integrated management systems, a joint audit for certification can take place.

An integrated audit of the environmental management system with other management systems minimises the additional effort and considerably reduces the audit burden for management and employees. We would be happy to provide you with a non-binding offer.

test mark for UMS
Your test mark could look like this

By publishing your environmental policy and your accredited certificates, you can show your interested parties (stakeholders) that you are committed to environmental protection. If your certification is carried out via GUTcert, you can integrate our certification marks in a promotionally effective way.

The cost of accredited certification to ISO 14001 depends on the scope to be certified. This includes the size and activity of your company, i.e. the number of sites, their environmental impact as well as the employees. Existing certifications can have a reducing effect on the audit time and thus the costs.

If you have any questions, please contact us personally or simply request a non-binding offer online.

Are you tired of waiting forever for audit reports? Do you want competent contact persons when it comes to the certification of your company? Or do you simply value new impulses for your company?

Don't wait until the new certification cycle: a change is also possible during the year for the review audit. With our change service, we support you in a few steps in changing from your existing certifier to GUTcert.

  • Competent auditors: In Germany, we work with over 100 auditors, including sector experts for manufacturing and processing industries, for producers and suppliers, logistics, trade and services. We will find the right auditor for your company.
  • Internationally positioned: GUTcert is part of the Afnor Group. With more than 1,800 auditors in over 100 countries, we offer you worldwide certification from a single source.
  • Fast and uncomplicated: We are the certification body of short distances. Your personal contact person accompanies you from the offer to the handover of the certificate. With commitment, creativity and conviction, our team is also available to you by telephone for questions at short notice.
  • Audits with added value: An audit as an examination? We at GUTcert see audits as an opportunity. In addition to checking the ISO 14001 requirements, audits offer above all motivation and appreciation for the work of the environmental team. We look at companies holistically and provide impulses for improvements. The positive feedback from our customers confirms this.
  • Certification as a matter of trust: GUTcert strives for long-term partnerships with its clients, auditors and cooperation partners. Internationally established as well as small and medium-sized companies have been placing their trust in us for years. Please take a look at our references!

Guide: An environmental management system according to ISO 14001 - Efficiently and effectively set up!

Here you will find our compact guide to help you set up and optimise your environmental management system.

What seminars are there on environmental management?

In our GUTcert Academy, you benefit from training courses, seminars and auditor training for environmental management systems in order to stand out from your competitors with more know-how.

You are already our customer? Then you will receive a discount on the seminars of the GUTcert Academy.