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Designing an Environmental Management System based on ISO 14001:2015 and 19011:2011

Upcoming Dates

September 10-14, 2018

Many organizations must daily be prepared for a variety of predictable and unexpected environmental risks which can lead to environmental impacts. Failure to properly address these liabilities can result in substantial fines or even jail. Provincial and federal legislation does provide for a defense of due diligence. A well-structured, implemented and maintained Environmental Management System (EMS) is a key to strong due diligence. More than that, it can bring value to the organization through improved effectiveness and pollution prevention. It may even be a requirement for international trade.

ISO 14001 is accepted as the international standard for environmental management systems and well over 100,000 certifications have been registered throughout the world.

Designing an Environmental Management System Based on ISO 14001 is a 40-hour hands-on course that leads to development by participants of an environmental management system for a small organization. The class uses the latest version of ISO 14001: Environmental management systems - Requirements with guidance for use, and also draws from key elements of ISO 19011: Guidelines for auditing management systems. The class is structured with a careful balance of instruction and in-class assignments so that small teams daily assemble important elements of their EMS and then discuss their results with the class. At the conclusion of the project, participants will have developed the main elements of an environmental management system manual according to ISO 14001 criteria. With an impending release (mid-2015) of a new version of ISO 14001, class exercises will be aligned to address its amended criteria and format. The component parts of this manual are directly applicable to the diverse workplace environments of class participants.

You Will Learn

  • The elements of a solid environmental management system (EMS)
  • What to look for in a strong environmental policy
  • How to understand sources for and significance of environmental risks
  • How to manage environmental risks with focused objectives, and emergency preparedness
  • How to monitor for nonconformity and achieve effective corrective and preventative actions
  • How to evaluate strengths and weaknesses in an EMS
  • How to involve Top Management in the EMS
  • How to achieve continual environmental improvement
  • How through team work, to compare and contrast different approaches to the same problem
  • Methods for applying the ISO principles to your own specific frame of reference


Day 1 - registration/check-in will start at 8:00 a.m. with sessions to begin at 8:30 a.m. and adjourn at 4:00 p.m. Days 2-5 will commence at 8:30 a.m. and adjourn at 4:00 p.m. There will be 15 minute mid-morning and afternoon breaks. A light lunch is included.

Program Outline

Day 1

8:00 Registration
8:30 Course objectives and team approach
Understanding environmental management systems (EMS)
The role of the environmental policy
Meeting legal and other requirements
Assessing 'activities, products, and services'
Team discussions of organizations they will use for class exercises, including potential impacts, legal constraints and guiding environmental policy
4:00 Adjournment

Day 2

8:30 Team descriptions of selected organization, including its environmental impacts, its legal and other requirements and its environmental policy
Understanding environmental risk in the context of the management system
Rating the significance of environmental aspects
Team development of rating matrix for environmental aspects and selection of significant aspects
4:00 Adjournment

Day 3

8:30 Team discussions of environmental aspects of their organizations
Understanding objectives, and how to achieve them; development of environmental procedures; how to manage incidents
Team development of objectives, and consequent work programs, standard operating and emergency procedures
4:00 Adjournment

Day 4

8:30 Team presentations of objectives and programs to achieve them
Team presentations of standard operating procedure, and emergency response procedure
Understanding the importance of site inspections and the role for root cause analysis and corrective action reports
How to involve Top Management in the EMS
4:00 Adjournment

Day 5

8:30 Team presentations of site checklist, EMS management review strategy
How to test the EMS for gaps
Team evaluation and critique of EMS program of another team
Team presentation of results of EMS reviews
Wrap-up discussion
4:00 Adjournment


John Underwood, Ph.D., EP (CEA), EP(EMSLA), has over forty years of environmental experience within academia, government and industry. He is nationally certified to lead environmental management system and compliance audits. He developed, and managed the environmental audit program across Emera for eighteen years. He also provided guidance as the organization developed its ISO 14001 environmental management systems in the late 1990's. Dr. Underwood has taught classes on management system development and environmental auditing for over a decade to many environmental officials from government and the private sector. He also continues to help large organizations with EMS implementation and their compliance audit programs.