Home » ISO 14001:2004 EMS » ISO 14001-Clause 4.3.3

ISO 14001-Clause 4.3.3

ISO 14001-Clause 4.3.3  Objectives, targets and programme(s)

ISO 14001 Requirements

The organization shall establish, implement and maintain documented environmental objectives and targets, at relevant functions and levels within the organization.

The objectives and targets shall be measurable, where practicable, and consistent with the environmental policy, including the commitments to prevention of pollution, to compliance with applicable legal requirements and with other requirements to which the organization subscribes, and to continual improvement.

When establishing and reviewing its objectives and targets, an organization shall take into account the legal requirements and other requirements to which the organization subscribes, and its significant environmental  aspects.

It shall also consider its technological options, its financial, operational and business requirements, and the views of interested parties.

The organization shall establish, implement and maintain a programme(s) for achieving its objectives and targets. Programme(s) shall include

  1. designation of responsibility for achieving objectives and targets at relevant functions and levels of the organization, and
  2. the means and time-frame by which they are to be achieved.


Objectives and Targets

The Standard requires that the organization shall establish and maintain documented environmental objectives and targets at each relevant functions and levels within the organization.Objectives and targets help you translate purpose into action — they should be factored into your strategic plan and can facilitate the integration of environmental management with other business management processes. Objectives should be the longer-term goals derived naturally from the environmental policy. It should be understood that each identified significant aspect will have an associated objective or objectives in some cases. Quantification can take place through measurement in order to meet such goals.You determine what objectives and targets are  appropriate for your organization. These goals can be organization-wide or applied to individual units or activities. Of course, all objectives and targets should be realistic. Objectives should be related to significant environmental impacts and can be couched in fairly broad terms i.e. to reduce energy use. Each objective should have a measurable target to demonstrate that the objective is being attained. Targets are more specific, more easily measurable detailed performance requirements which evolve from the objectives and allow an organization to verify whether the stated objectives will be achieved. Early warning mechanisms for targets not being met should be in place. The process of regular reviews and audits should address this adequately.In setting objectives  consider your environmental policy, significant environmental aspects, applicable legal and other requirements, the views of interested parties, your technological options, and financial, operational, and other business requirements. There are no “standard” environmental objectives that fit all organizations. Your objectives and targets should reflect what your organization does and what it wants to achieve.

Objectives and Targets
Objectives and Targets

Objectives and targets should be set by the people in the functional area involved — they will be best positioned to establish, plan for, and achieve these goals. Involving people in the area will help to build commitment. Objectives should be consistent with your overall business mission and plan and the key commitments established in your policy (pollution prevention, continual improvement, and compliance).Be flexible in your objectives. Define a desired result and let the people responsible determine how to achieve the result. Keep your objectives simple initially, gain some early successes, and then build on them. Communicate objectives and targets (as well as your progress in achieving them) across the organization. Consider a regular report on progress at staff meetings.To obtain the views of interested parties, consider holding an open house or establishing a focus group with people in the community. These activities can have other payoffs as well. Make sure your objectives and targets are realistic. Determine how you will measure progress towards achieving them. Keep in mind that your suppliers service or materials) can help you in meeting your objectives and targets (e.g., by providing more environmentally friendly products).

Setting of Targets and Objectives

Some targets will be dictated by the requirements of legislation and therefore are set from outside of the organization. That apart if an organization has identified that solid waste to landfill is a significant impact, what should be the target to aim for to reduce this amount of waste? First and foremost, quantification of what is actually sent to landfill needs to be obtained. As stated above this could probably be obtained  from weighbridge tickets, waste transfer notes and other records. If, from these records, it is discovered that in the previous year 100 tonnes were sent to landfill, how does the organization derive a meaningful figure for reduction? Is 1%, 10% or 50% reduction a reasonable  figure? Upon examination of these options, an improvement of 1% is meaningless as far as environmental significance is concerned. It will probably be difficult to measure this ‘amount’ with confidence. There is also the fact that the costs of the controls for this small reduction may outweigh any financial  considerations – always an issue in any organization. The improvement of 50% would appear at first glance to be commendable and worthy of environmental attention, however, on closer examination it is probably somewhat unrealistic.  Thus 10% appears to be a starting point and an achievable target – with measurable associated cost savings. If, as the system matures, this proves to be too difficult, then it could be adjusted to 8% or 9% as appropriate. Obviously, only running a production line at 50% capacity, due to poor customer demand, will reduce waste by a roughly corresponding amount. Unless this is taken into consideration in the calculations, errors in the figures will occur.

Some Examples of Objectives and Targets

Objectives Targets
Reduce energy use
  • Reduce electricity use by March 2015
  • Reduce natural gas use by March 2015
Reduce usage of hazardous chemicals
  • Eliminate use of CFC’s by March 2015
  • Reduce use of high-VOC paints by 25% in 2015
Reduce hazardous waste generation Reduce chrome wastes in plating area by 50% in 2015
Improve compliance with wastewater discharge permit limits Zero permit limit violations by March 2015
Improve employee awareness of environmental issues Train 100% of employees by end of year

Environmental Management Programme (EMP)

This clause of the standard requires that the organization establish and maintain a programme, or programmes, for achieving its objectives and targets. Targets and Objectives define what your  organization intends to achieve in the environmental area. To ensure that objectives and targets are achieved, you need an action plan. The environmental management program should be linked directly to your objectives and targets that is, the program should describe how the organization will translate its goals into concrete actions so that environmental objectives and targets will be achieved. It shall include:

  • designation of responsibility for achieving objectives and targets at each relevant function and level of the organization
  • the means and time-frame by which they are to be achieved

The ‘means’ is the methods, methodology, the practical ‘doing’, employed to achieve the targets. Consider an organization that sets an objective to reduce fuel costs of company vehicles by say, 10% over a 12-month period. This is measurable (measured through the analysis of fuel bills), but unless the staff involved know exactly what they must do as individuals to achieve this, the objective may founder. Simply stating that ‘staff will drive more carefully and avoid excessive speed and harsh braking’ is quite meaningless in terms of being able to monitor and measure this. However, if a management programme is drawn up detailing the means then it could describe:

Some Examples of Means and Actions
‘Means’ or methods Action Required by Staff
Fitting of fuel Economizer Fitted to a select number of cars,and fuel consumption recorded by the drivers on a weekly basis.
Selected staff attending defensive driving lessons Fuel consumption measured both before and after lessons to measure any difference. Drivers record in log book provided.
Purchase of software to plan journeys more efficiently Drivers to note distance travelled and compare to the same journey travelled using the planning software.

Objective can have several associated targets, some may be ‘tangibles’ and others may be periods of time or dates. (Dates are very good as a means of measuring progress – in effect something either happens by a certain date, or it doesn’t!) In the above example, the economizer is either fitted to the vehicle by a set date, or it isn’t. Only two situations are possible – both easily measured.

There is no set format for a management programme and Gannt Charts, spreadsheets or project planning software can be used. Whatever the format, the programme should show the linkages, or relationships, between aspects, significant impacts, objectives, targets, means, time-frame and responsibility. your program should be a dynamic one.Consider modifying the program when:

  • objectives and targets are revised or added;
  • progress in achieving your objectives and targets is made — or not made; or
  • products, processes, or facilities change or other factors arise.

Your action plan need not be compiled into a single document. A “road map” to several plans is an acceptable alternative, as long as the key responsibilities, tactical steps and schedules are adequately defined in these other documents. Keep in mind that this program should not be developed in a vacuum, it should be coordinated or integrated with other business plans, strategies, and budgets. For example, if you are planning changes to a manufacturing process (say, for quality or production purposes), then it makes sense to look at the possible environmental issues associated with this process change at the same time. Involve your employees early in establishing and carrying out the program. Clearly communicate the expectations and responsibilities laid out in the program to those who need to know. Build on the plans and programs you have now for environmental compliance, health & safety, and/or quality management purposes. Re-evaluate your action plan when you are considering significant changes to your products, processes, facilities or materials. Make this re-evaluation part of your change management process. Keep it simple and focus on continual improvement of the program over time.

Audit Checklist:

  1. Has your organisation established, implemented and maintained documented environmental objectives and targets?
  2. Have objectives and targets been established at relevant functions and levels within the organisation and are they measurable?
  3. Are the objectives and targets  consistent with the environmental policy ?
  4. Are the objectives and targets  consistent with the legal and other requirements?
  5. Are the objectives and targets  consistent with the prevention of pollution ?
  6. Are the objectives and targets  consistent with the continual improvement?
  7. When setting your objectives and targets how do you consider legal and other requirements?
  8. When setting your objectives and targets how do you consider significant environmental aspects?
  9. When setting your objectives and targets how do you consider technological options?
  10. When setting your objectives and targets how do you consider financial, operational and business requirements?
  11. When setting your objectives and targets how do you consider the views of interested parties?
  12. Has your organisation established, implemented & maintained a programme(s) for achieving its objectives and targets?
  13. Who is responsible at the different levels of your organisation for implementing the programme(s)?
  14. What are the means and timeframes for achieving the different objectives and targets?
  15. How does the organisation ensure that programme(s) are amended as a result of new developments, new or modified activities, products and services?

Mandatory Procedure:

Not applicable

Mandatory record:

pdf Example  of Objectives and Targets
pdf Examples of Environmental Management Programmes
pdf Example of Environmental Management Programme

Implementation document ( Not mandatory but helps in fulfillment of requirement):

pdf Procedure for Identification Of EOHS Objectives, Targets, and Programmes

Your Donation can make a difference

We have chosen to make our Resources freely and openly available on the web with the hope that it touches the life of thousands of readers who visits us daily. We hope our blog has helped in enhancing the knowledge of our readers and added value to organization and their implementers. We would request you to make donation large and small, so as to provide us the resources needed to distribute, collect, digitize as it is becoming extremely difficult for us to afford the full cost of updating and enriching our site content. Your contribution will ensure that we can keep our blog  up-to-date and add more of the rich resources — such as video — that make a difference for so many worldwide.
Your donation will demonstrate your commitment to knowledge as a public good and is an important part of our overall sustainability plan. Your donation is also important in demonstrating to us how much you value the site and motivates us to devote more of our time towards developing this blog.


Previous-ISO 14001-Clause 4.3.2 Legal and other requirements

Next-ISO 14001-Clause 4.4.1: Resources, roles, responsibility and authority

 Back to Home Page

If you need assistance contact us at:  or call Pretesh Biswas at +919923345531
[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]



Pretesh Biswas

Pretesh Biswas