The Relationship between ISO 9000 and ISO 14000

ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 are known as generic management system standards because they are not specific to a particular product, resource, or process. They refer to families of standards consisting of management systems and related supporting tools that can be applied equally to private industry and public sector organizations of any size, that offer any product, activity, or service. The standards provide an organization with a model for setting up and operating a management system.

Similarities Between ISO 9000 and ISO 14000

ISO 9000 is concerned with quality management and meeting customer quality requirements, achieving control of processes, and encouraging continuous improvement while ISO 14000 is concerned with environmental management. Both standards outline a solid, traditional management approach. The ISO 14001 standard uses the same fundamental systems as ISO 9000 such as document control, management system auditing, operational controls, recordkeeping controls, management policies, audits, training, and corrective and preventive actions. ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 require senior management support and commitment for success, and require organizations to have a system for establishing and reviewing objectives and targets, whether they be quality or environmentally related. Both require organizations to provide on-going management review of the management system and its objectives.

Some ISO 9000 quality management processes can be referenced for an ISO 14001 EMS to avoid duplication of efforts. In fact, the ISO technical committee (TC 207) purposely developed the newer ISO 14000 standards to be in conformance with the basic philosophy and structure of the previously issued ISO 9000 standards. For those implementing an ISO 14001 EMS, previous experience with ISO 9000 will be of great value. The many similarities between ISO 9000 and ISO 14001 philosophies suggest that one fully integrated management system for all business and operational activities is most effective. An ISO 14001 EMS can be developed separately and integrated with ISO 9000 in the future, or can be overlaid within the existing ISO 9001 quality management system. Integrating ISO 14001 with ISO 9000 will increase the efficiency and reduce the time and costs necessary for full implementation.

Differences Between ISO 9000 and ISO 14000

While there are some overlaps and similarities in the requirements for the two standards, there are also differences. The ISO 9000 standards have been developed specifically to address customer requirements and expectations regarding product quality. ISO 9001 sets out the requirements for organizations whose business processes range from design and development, to production, installation and servicing. ISO 9002 is applicable for organizations that are not involved with design and development. ISO 9003 is the appropriate standard for organizations whose business processes do not include design control, process control, purchasing or servicing, but rather use inspection and testing to ensure that final products and services meet specified requirements. With ISO 14000, organizations respond to much more than just customer requirements. Multiple external stakeholders who influence the environmental aspects of an organization often must be satisfied. Examples of external stakeholders under ISO 14000 include: Federal, State and local regulators; the surrounding community; and special interest groups.

ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 Compatibility

Because of the close relationship between ISO 9000 and ISO 14000, ISO commissioned a year-long study to investigate the compatibility between the two standards. Technical advisory group 12 (TAG 12) was established to investigate how a better interface can be achieved for users who wish to implement both standards TAG 12 recommended the following actions to enhance standards compatibility:

  • Relevant terms and definitions should be identical, and there should be consistent use of terminology in both families of standards;
  • Management system standards in the two families should be compatible and, as far as possible, aligned; and
  • Auditing standards in the two families should be integrated to consist of a common core document with separate modules on quality and the environment.

The TAG 12 recommendations highlight the importance ISO places on coordinated development among the standards. Results of ISO implementation of the recommendations should be visible when the next revisions to the standards are published; a deadline has been set for 2000/2001. TAG 12 also suggested that ISO work closely with accreditors and certifiers to ensure transition to the revised documents is as smooth as possible.