Overview of ISO 14001 Document Control Requirements

Overview of ISO 14001 Document Control Requirements

Achieving ISO 14001 Certification is significant for organisations that want to show they care about sustainability and environmental management. Environmental management systems (EMS) must be well-documented, organised, and easily accessible to comply with ISO 14001 standards. This blog will review the requirements for Document Control ISO 14001, which will help you understand the significance of document management in EMSs and how it contributes to getting ISO 14001 Certification

Table Of Contents

  • Understanding ISO 14001
  • Document Control in ISO 14001
  • Overview of ISO 14001 Document Control Requirements
  • Conclusion

Understanding ISO 14001 

An environmental management system (EMS) must adhere to the criteria outlined in ISO14001, a globally acknowledged standard created by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). Organisations can use the standard as a guide to understand their environmental impacts better, evaluate them, and then take steps to lessen or eliminate them. An organisation’s dedication to environmental sustainability and compliance with relevant environmental regulations and standards is demonstrated through ISO 14001 certification.

Document Control in ISO 14001 

Compliance with ISO 14001 relies heavily on document control, which guarantees the efficient management of all documents, including environmental policies, procedures, records, and more, at every stage of their existence. To ensure compliance with ISO 14001 standards and to support ongoing improvements in environmental performance, organisations should implement document control procedures to keep documentation accurate, current, and easily accessible. Organisations can improve their environmental management systems’ traceability, accountability, and transparency by establishing robust document control procedures. 

Overview of ISO 14001 Document Control Requirements 

Documented Information 

To effectively plan, execute, and control their environmental management system, organisations are required by ISO 14001 to create, update, and keep all relevant information documents. All sorts of documents about environmental considerations and effects may be found in archives, including goals, policies, procedures, work instructions, records, forms, and reports. 

Documented Information Control

Organisations must set up processes to manage the environmental management system’s documented information throughout its lifecycle, from creation to review approval, distribution, access, retrieval, storage, retention, and disposal. To prevent loss, damage, or unauthorised access, it is essential to have a system in place to control and identify documents.

Documented Information Accessibility

Organisations must comply with ISO 14001’s requirement that all relevant personnel and stakeholders have appropriate access to the documented information needed to operate the environmental management system effectively. To carry out their responsibilities or confirm compliance, employees, contractors, auditors, and regulators, among others, must be able to access the necessary documents at any time. 

Documented Information Updates

Organisations should put measures in place to keep the documentation up-to-date, accurate, and pertinent to the goals and requirements of the environmental management system. Environmental regulations, organisational processes, technology, or stakeholder expectations may undergo changes that necessitate updates. The roles, processes, and timeliness of document updates and revisions should be laid out in the document control procedures. 

Documented Information Retention

The retention of documented information is a requirement of ISO 14001 that organisations must meet to prove compliance with the provisions of an environmental management system and the system’s efficient operation. Legal, regulatory, contractual, and business needs should inform the definition of document retention periods; this will help with compliance, decision-making, and historical reference. 

Documented Information Protection

Organisations must implement safeguards to prevent the loss, damage, unauthorised access, modification, or misuse of documented information. Electronic access controls, encryption, backups, disaster recovery plans, information security awareness training for staff, and physical security controls are potential ways to protect documents. 

Documented Information Review and Approval

To make sure the documented information is suitable, adequate, and practical, organisations must establish procedures for reviewing, approving, and amending it according to ISO 14001 standards. To validate document content and ensure alignment with organisational objectives, it is essential that pertinent stakeholders, such as representatives from environmental management, process owners, subject matter experts, and senior management, participate in the review and approval processes. 


An organisation’s environmental management system can only succeed with adequate document control to get and stay ISO 14001 certified. An organisation’s environmental management practices can be made more transparent, accountable, and traceable if they follow the guidelines set out by ISO 14001 and have robust document management procedures. Organisations can better meet the requirements of ISO 14001 and motivate themselves to improve their environmental performance by instituting document control procedures that ensure documentation is accurate, current, and easily accessible. A greener and more sustainable future can be achieved through stakeholder engagement, regulatory compliance, and effective document control, demonstrating an organisation’s commitment to environmental sustainability.