9.1 Monitoring, Measurement, Analysis and Evaluation [ISO 14001]

7 steps for 9.1 Monitoring, Measurement, Analysis and Evaluation

Seven steps will establish a mechanism to ensure that your organization is meeting its EMS policies, objectives and targets:

  1. Identify the activities that can have significant impacts and risks
  2. Determine key characteristics of the activity to be monitored
  3. Select the best way to measure the key characteristics
  4. Record data on performance, controls and conformance with objectives and targets
  5. Determine the frequency with which to measure the key characteristics
  6. Analysis & reporting
  7. Establish management review and Evaluation

Contents

9.1.1 General

The ISO 14001 emphasis is primarily placed on the continual improvement of processes and monitoring their effectiveness. You will keep records of all these observations and evaluations.

This shows evidence that your business is aware of what it needs to monitor and measure, the criteria against which the environmental performance is evaluated, including the use of appropriate indicators.

Measuring

Plan what Needs to be Monitored and Measured

Identify criteria against which your business can measure and monitor its performance. Particular attention should be given to any criteria that needs to be communicated and where it relates to compliance obligations.

For example, a criterion could be compliance with an effluent discharge permit or compliance with chemical substance legislation.

Examples of What to Measure

  • Environmental policy commitments
  • Environmental objectives
  • The characteristics of operational activities, products and services related to significant environmental aspects
  • The status of compliance obligations.

Methods may include, as appropriate, statistical techniques to be applied to the analysis of those results.

Measuring performance against criteria can be undertaken using performance indicators.

Developing a Process

You should expect to see that your organization has developed a process (method, techniques, format, etc.) to identify, collect and analyze various data and information from both internal and external sources, including:

  • EMS records
  • Monitoring and measuring results
  • Process performance results
  • Meeting objectives
  • Internal audit findings
  • Customer surveys and feedback
  • 2nd or 3rd party audit results
  • Competitor and benchmarking information
  • Product test results;
  • Supplier performance information.

This ‘input’ (information and data) should reflect upon the adequacy, suitability and effectiveness of the environmental management system and its processes.

The ‘output’ (result of the analysis) must provide information (understanding, insight, awareness, confidence, knowledge of, etc.).

Identify Appropriate Indicators

Indicators help to convert relevant quantitative or qualitative information into a concise, more understandable and useful form for evaluating performance.

Indicators can comprise operational performance indicators (for example energy consumed, waste generated) and environmental condition indicators (for example concentration of specific pollutant in surrounding air).

An example of an indicator relevant to the permit could be pH or parts per million (ppm) of heavy metal. For the chemical substance legislation criterion, the indicator could be the number of suppliers responding to a questionnaire, electricity consumption, scrappage rates, production units, emissions, product fuel use and number of complaints or incidents.

Monitoring and measuring

Monitoring and Measuring

Monitoring and measuring should take into account the need for reliability of data/information reliability. This depends on factors such as availability, adequacy, scientific and statistical validity and verifiability.

Monitoring and measurement should be supported by processes that ensure the data obtained are of the type, amount and quality needed for effectively evaluating performance.

For monitoring and measuring an effluent permit consent, it would be expected that a process, appropriate competency and internal audits would be in place. For chemical substance legislation, it would be expected that appropriate quality control is in place to manage records.

Analysing Data

Analysis of information should consider the data quality, validity, adequacy and completeness and assist the organisation in its communication of reliable information.

Data analyses should include consideration of the quality, validity, adequacy and completeness of information to deem it reliable.

As such, the data and information collected through monitoring and measurement should constitute objective verifiable evidence. Such evidence allows an independent body or person to determine if a claim made by the organisation can be substantiated.

For example, an organisation claiming that it has reduced its emissions may have to provide monitoring data to back-up the claim to an interested party, if requested. Environmental auditing is a method that can be used to check the reliability of data.

Organizations are required by ISO 14001:2015 to retain appropriate documented information in the of records, spreadsheets, and reports, etc. as evidence of the monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation of results.

The Analysis Output Should Provide Insight to:

  • Customer satisfaction and perception
  • Product conformance
  • Process performance
  • Product and process characteristics
  • Trends in products and processes
  • Opportunities for preventive action
  • Suppliers and subcontractors

Other potential or useful options might include:

  • Need for corrective action
  • Opportunity for improvement
  • Competition

Documented information and organizational knowledge that records process data should be considered for analysis. Records are evidence of system performance and should be analyzed for potential improvements.

Whiteboard Evaluation

Evaluation

When data analysis is complete, the organization can evaluate its performance against the criteria. The indicators will present progress made over the reporting period and whether or not performance criteria have been met.

Evaluating performance includes evaluating the fulfilment of compliance obligations.

For evaluating performance relevant to the effluent permit consent, pH and heavy metal results would be compared to the permit consent’s emission limit values. Chemical substance legislation would require a comparison of the number of questionnaires received against the target the organisation had set itself.

Communicating Performance

Organizations should ensure that data and information which is consistent with that derived from the environmental management system are used in communications.

Communication includes internal communication, for example reporting on progress against objectives to the Top management team.

The organisation should have a process to convey knowledge and understanding of its compliance status. This should include a mechanism for regular reporting to top management on compliance status, ensuring that immediate reporting to relevant parties takes place when a non-conformance arises.

Updated: 30th 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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