ISO 14001 internal audit checklist

ISO 14001 provides a framework for managing environmental responsibilities systematically. Key elements of the internal audit checklist include assessing the organisation’s context, leadership commitment, planning, support, operations, performance evaluation, and continual improvement. Follow this checklist to ensure your environmental management system meets the standard’s requirements.
ISO 14001 internal audit checklist

ISO 14001 is the environmental management standard that provides a framework for an organisation looking to manage its environmental responsibilities in a systematic way. As part of this framework, the organisation must undergo regular internal audits to ensure they meet the standard’s requirements.

Here is an overview of the key elements of the ISO 14001 internal audit checklist:

Context of the organisation

The first element of the ISO 14001 internal audit checklist is assessing the organisation’s context. This means understanding the organisation’s size, structure, products, services, and markets. Additionally, it’s important to understand the legal and regulatory requirements that apply to the organisation’s activities. This information forms the basis for setting environmental objectives and targets. Additionally, it helps auditors identify risks and opportunities that could impact the achievement of those objectives.


The second step in conducting an effective ISO 14001 internal audit is to assess the leadership team’s commitment to the environment. This includes looking at how well the leadership team understands the ISO 14001 environmental management system (EMS) objectives. The internal auditor should also evaluate the leadership team’s ability to provide direction and resources for EMS implementation and continual improvement. Furthermore, the auditor should assess the leadership team’s EMS communication within and with external stakeholders. By evaluating these factors, the auditor can get a good sense of the leadership team’s commitment to the EMS objective.


Without proper planning, an EMS cannot be effectively implemented or maintained. The auditor should check that there is a system in place to review the effectiveness of the EMS and that there are plans to revise the EMS as needed. Additionally, the auditor should check to ensure there are plans to deal with emergencies and that employees are aware of these plans. The auditor should also make sure there are plans to monitor compliance with legal and other requirements.


This step is critical because it ensures that the EMS has the resources it needs to be successful. The first step is to determine what resources are needed. This includes things like personnel, equipment, and financial resources. Once the needs have been determined, the next step is to provide those resources. This may involve hiring new personnel, purchasing new equipment, or allocating financial resources. By providing the necessary resources, the organisation can be confident that the EMS will be able to meet its objectives and continually improve.


The fifth step focuses on operations. Specifically, the organisation must have processes in place to prevent deviation from the environmental policy, objectives, and compliance obligations. To do this, criteria must be established for the processes and controls implemented to keep everything on track.

Performance evaluation

To comply with this element, organisations must show that they’re monitoring, measuring, analysing, and evaluating their environmental performance. The purpose of this is to help organisations identify any areas where they need to improve their EMS. There are many different ways to do this, but some common methods include conducting audits, reviewing data, and setting goals. By taking a proactive approach to performance evaluation, organisations can ensure that their EMS is always up to par.


Last but not least, the internal auditor will check to see if the organisation has identified improvement opportunities and taken necessary actions to help it achieve the intended outcome of its EMS. This may include modifying the EMS to incorporate new technologies or processes, improving communication and training, or revising objectives and goals. This element aims to ensure that the organisation is constantly striving to improve its environmental performance.

There you have it; this checklist covers all the basics of what you need to look for when conducting an ISO 14001 internal audit. By following this checklist, you can be confident that you’re covering all the bases and ensuring that your EMS is up to par.

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