The international workshop enabled a fruitful discussion on the conception and the benefits of a new ISO guidance for environmental management in the field of water. The workshop participants quickly agreed that this new ISO guidance makes sense and should be introduced. It was therefore quickly possible to concentrate on the design of the guidance, leading to an agreement on the following aspects: (1) the voluntary nature of the implementation, (2) the concentration on water on land and (3) the consideration of the entire water catchment area.
Ecologic Institute was responsible for the design, organisation and documentation of the workshop. The event was moderated by R. Andreas Kraemer (Ecologic Institute). The workshop served as a discussion platform for the planned guideline. It brought together interested experts from the fields of water management and environmental management within and outside the ISO community. The aim of the workshop was to refine the draft – prepared in advance by a working group from the ISO community – for the new guidance on the scope, structure and conceptual approach. A working group of the ISO community prepared the draft beforehand.
The results of the workshop were used to update the draft of the proposal before it was submitted to ISO for an international approval process. After the event, the decision-makers agreed on setting up an appropriate working group to develop the guideline.
ISO 14001 is a general framework that specifies the requirements of an environmental management system (EMS). About 360.000 organizations worldwide currently use ISO 14001 to reduce their impacts on the environment and to adapt to changing environmental conditions.
The new proposal is intended to become part of the ISO 14002 series, which is supposed to provide support for organizations who want to direct and focus the actions within their EMS to specific environmental topic areas, such as water. The standard is organized as a series of parts, where part one (ISO 14002-1) provides generic guidance and following parts will emphasize different environmental topic areas.
Organizations will benefit from applying the guidance provided in ISO 14002 by:
- enhancing environmental performance within specific environmental topic areas;
- protecting the environment by preventing or mitigating adverse environmental impacts within specific environmental topic areas;
- mitigating the potential adverse effect of environmental conditions on the organization within specific environmental topic areas;
- aligning the environmental management system with the organization’s strategic direction.
The proposed new standard ISO 14002-2 is intended to provide guidance for organizations seeking to manage water-related risks and opportunities and taking related actions in their EMS.