7.3 Awareness [ISO 14001]

What is 7.3 Awareness?

All employees of the organization must be made aware of the environmental policy, its contents, liabilities, interested parties, and potential future liabilities. This includes the employees' responsibilities towards the EMS, how their performance may affect it as well as the consequences of nonconformance.


The organization's objectives need to be clearly communicated to create this awareness throughout all levels of the organization.

It is important to note that people are aware of both of the organization’s EMS requirements as well as the consequences of nonconformance with those requirements.


Awareness Training

Awareness training is intended to provide an overview of the organization’s environmental policy, objectives and targets, and overall EMS.

Who Should Attend Awareness Training

The requirements for awareness training apply to all employees (internal and external) including those whose work may cause significant environmental impacts or safety risks.

Mandatory — Awareness Training

Your organization must ‘establish and maintain procedures to make its employees and members at each relevant function and level aware of’:

  • The importance of conformance with the policy and the EMS procedures and requirements
  • The actual and the potential significant impacts and risks of the activities, products, and/or services
  • The benefits of improved personal performance
  • The employees’ roles and responsibilities in achieving conformance with the policies and the EMS procedures
  • The employees’ roles and responsibilities with the emergency preparedness and response requirements
  • The potential consequences of departure from specified operating procedures

Optional / Additional — Awareness Training

Your awareness training may also include additional elements that address:

  • The organization’s objectives and targets
  • The employees’ actions to minimize/eliminate impacts and risks and how each employee can contribute
  • The importance of compliance with operational and regulatory requirements
  • The overall improvement of the organization’s EMS performance and the potential financial return
  • The importance to interested parties

Training Methods

Training does not need to follow the traditional format of long classroom sessions.

Training may be offline or online. Video streaming training is becoming more and more popular.

Other methods to promote and reinforce the EMS awareness training include apps, online quizzes, email questionaires, posters, newsletters and informational meetings.

ISO 14001:2004 - Clause 6.2.2

This requirement is cimilar, but Different to Previous Version of ISO 14001:2004 Clause 6.2.2 - Competence, training and awareness.

However, the previous version was limited to the organization’s own personnel.

In ISO 1400:2015 you need evidence to confirm that this requirement has been applied to include everyone who works on your organization’s behalf that affect the conformity of your organization’s EMS or products.

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Updated: 27th October 2021
Author: Richard Keen

Richard Keen

Richard Keen

Richard is our Compliance Director, responsible for content & product development.
But most importantly he is ISO's biggest fanboy and a true evangelist of the standards.
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