Brought to you by IBEC Intelligence
An environmental aspect is an element of an organization’s activities, products, or services that has or may have an impact on the environment, as defined by ISO 14001.
An environmental impact is a change to the environment. In simpler terms, an environmental aspect is anything that happens within your organization that interacts with the environment.
ISO 14001 Annex A gives us six categories to help with identifying environmental aspects.
Emissions to Air
Releases to Water
Contamination of Land
Consumption of Natural Resources and Raw Materials
Other Environmental Issues Particular to your General Locality and Community (noise, odors, etc.)
When identifying environmental aspects, all parts of the company’s operations in the defined scope have to be considered, not just the obvious core manufacturing or service activities.
Evaluation of Significant Environmental Aspects
The goal for identifying environmental aspects is to understand which are important environmental issues to be managed and controlled by your EMS. You do not need to manage all environmental aspects – only the ones that are, according to your own criteria, declared significant.
So, the next step is to identify the significant environmental aspects. The following aspects have been identified as potentially having significant environmental impacts:
Permitted air emissions
Regulated liquid discharges
Storage, use, and transportation of chemicals
Storage, use, and transportation of radioactive materials
Nonrenewable Energy Use/Intensity (Electricity)
Greenhouse gas emissions
Once you have finished identifying all environmental aspects, the next step is to consider if you have the ability to control or influence these activities. For more information on implementing a robust Environmental Management System, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with an IBEC expert.