ISO 14001

What’s involved in an ISO 14001 internal audit?

May 22, 2024

What’s involved in an ISO 14001 internal audit?

To achieve a successful ISO 14001 internal audit, consider it as more than just a procedural step.  It is a crucial part of maintaining a robust Environmental Management System (EMS). 

Here, we outline the stages involved in the audit and how our expertise and technology can help small to medium-sized businesses:

  • Introduction to ISO 14001 internal audits
  • Planning your ISO 14001 internal audit
  • Executing the audit
  • Reporting and acting on findings
  • Sustaining compliance and continuous improvement
  • How we can help

Introduction to ISO 14001 internal audits

An ISO 14001 internal audit evaluates an organisation's adherence to the ISO 14001 standard, which outlines criteria for an effective EMS. 

The goal is to reduce environmental impact, meet regulatory demands, and achieve environmental objectives. 

Internal audits reflect the true state of an organisation’s environmental practices, identifying areas for improvement and validating the EMS's effectiveness.

Planning your ISO 14001 internal audit

Effective planning is crucial for a successful audit.  This phase includes …

Designating a capable audit team 

Choose auditors who understand ISO 14001 standards and your business’s specific nuances to ensure accurate and insightful audit outcomes.

Defining the audit’s scope

Clearly outline which processes and areas will be examined to provide a focused audit.

Formulating a detailed audit plan

Schedule activities in a way that aligns with operational priorities, ensuring a thorough and efficient audit.

Executing the audit

The execution phase involves putting plans into action. Auditors examine the EMS using various methods …

Document review

Auditors check procedures, environmental policies, and records to ensure they align with ISO 14001 requirements.

Observations and inspections

On-site evaluations provide tangible insights into environmental impact and EMS compliance.


Conversations with personnel offer a deeper understanding of their engagement with and comprehension of the EMS.

This comprehensive approach uncovers non-conformities and opportunities for improvement.

Reporting and acting on findings

The audit concludes with a detailed report, presenting findings clearly and actionably. 

The report highlights commendable practices and areas needing attention, categorising them into non-conformities and suggestions for improvement. 

It serves as a roadmap for refining the EMS, with recommended corrective actions and timelines. 

Addressing these findings demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to compliance and environmental excellence.

Sustaining compliance and continuous improvement

ISO 14001 internal audits are part of a continuous improvement cycle. 

Sustaining compliance requires regular monitoring and review of the EMS, adapting to new regulations, operational changes, and evolving sustainability landscapes. 

This ongoing commitment enhances environmental integrity, operational efficiency, and resilience.

Recommended frequency

The frequency of internal audits should match the organisation's pace of change and environmental goals. 

While annual audits are common, the frequency may vary based on factors like organisational size, operational complexity, and environmental impact. More frequent audits might be needed during new process implementation, environmental incidents, or significant organisational changes.

How we can help

Our ISO 14001 management software simplifies the internal audit process for small to medium-sized businesses by providing tools that streamline each audit stage, from planning to compliance verification. Our software offers:

  • Comprehensive documentation management: Easily organise and access all EMS documentation, ensuring thorough audits.
  • Audit scheduling and management: Plan and track audit activities, assign tasks, and monitor progress in real-time.
  • Corrective action tracking: Log findings and track corrective actions to ensure continuous improvement and compliance.

By leveraging our technology and expertise, businesses can confidently approach the ISO 14001 internal audit process, ensuring a successful and seamless outcome. 

ISOvA's software not only aids in achieving initial certification but also in maintaining high standards, fostering a culture of environmental responsibility and operational excellence.

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