Home » ISO 14001:2004 EMS » ISO 14001-Clause 4.4.1

ISO 14001-Clause 4.4.1

ISO 14001-Clause 4.4 Implementation and operation

This clause requires the organization to put into place controls over all activities which have, or may have, a significant environmental impact. In effect, procedures will need to be implemented to ensure that the everyday environmental activities of the organization occur as planned.

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

ISO 14001 Requirements

Management shall ensure the availability of resources essential to establish, implement, maintain and improve the environmental management system. Resources include human resources and specialized skills, organizational infrastructure, technology and financial resources.
Roles, responsibilities and authorities shall be defined, documented and communicated in order to facilitate  effective environmental management.
The organization’s top management shall appoint a specific management representative(s) who, irrespective of other responsibilities, shall have defined roles, responsibilities and authority for
a) ensuring that an environmental management system is established, implemented and maintained in accordance with the requirements of this International Standard,
b) reporting to top management on the performance of the environmental management system, for review, including recommendations for improvement.


The Standard requires that, as a show of commitment, the organization shall provide resources – especially human resources – in order to facilitate effective environmental management. The successful implementation of an environmental management system calls for commitment from all employees in the organization.  The purpose of this sub-clause is to ensure that finance is available and that personnel are assigned responsibilities for part of the  environmental management system and have a clear-cut reporting structure. Job descriptions, or project responsibilities from the management programme, may cover this requirement. For your EMS to be effective, roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined and communicated. In a small organization, the commitment of all employees is needed. Top management plays a key role by providing the resources needed to ensure that the EMS is implemented effectively. Ensuring this capability is one of the most important jobs of top management.Top management should appoint a management representative. This representative

  1. ensures that the EMS is established and implemented
  2. reports on its performance over time; and
  3. works with others to modify the EMS when necessary.

The management representative could be the same person who serves as the project champion, but this is not mandatory. This can be an existing member of staff who, regardless of other duties, has responsibilities for co-ordinating the activities of the environmental management system. There needs to be a direct authority linkage. For example, in the case of a potential environmental problem, the line of communication to senior management needs to be short so that action can occur readily. Commitment begins, of course, at the top level of management, but it is accepted that in larger organizations responsibility to be the management representative is often delegated to a less senior individual.  Management can use information on EMS performance to improve the system over time. A business owner, plant or shop manager, or any  number of other people might serve as an effective management representative.
To determine the organization structure following steps may be taken:

  • Look at the scope of your environmental management program: What capabilities do we need? Who needs to be involved to make the system effective? What training or other resources will they need?
  • Look at your significant environmental impacts: What operations / activities need to be controlled? Who needs to be involved to ensure that controls are implemented?
  • Look at the results of previous audits or other assessments: What does this information tell us about the effectiveness of our organizational structure? How could it be improved?
  • Look at the current responsibilities for environmental management: How can we enhance ownership of environmental management across the organization? How can other business functions support the EMS?
  • Look at your quality management and / or other existing management systems: What roles and responsibilities exist in these management systems? Where are the opportunities for integration?


Possible role in EMS

Develop and implement controls for chemical / other material purchases
 Human Resources
  • Define competency requirements and job descriptions for various EMS roles
  • Integrate environmental management into reward, discipline and appraisal systems
Implement preventive maintenance program for key equipment
  • Track data on environmental management costs
  • Prepare budgets for environmental management program
  • Evaluate economic feasibility of environmental projects
  • Consider environmental impacts of new or modified products and processes
  • Identify pollution prevention opportunities
 Top Management
  • Communicate importance of EMS throughout organization
  • Provide necessary resources
  • Track and review EMS performance
Line Workers
  • Provide first-hand knowledge of environmental aspects of their operations
  • Support training for new employees

Consider flow charting your organization’s activities relating to environmental management. This can help you understand how processes work and the final product can be a great communication and training tool. Flow charts might be useful to look at processes such as chemical purchasing and distribution, employee training, and preventive maintenance, among others.Build flexibility into your organization’s EMS. Recognize that environmental management needs will change over time.Be sure to communicate to people what their roles are in the organization.

Responsibility matrix
Sample of Responsibility Matrix

Audit Checklist:

  1. How are the roles, responsibility and authorities defined and documented and communicated in order to achieve effective environmental management?
  2. How does management provide resources essential  such as human resources, specialised skills, organisational infrastructure, technology and financial resources to establish, implement, maintain and improve the environmental management system?
  3. Has the top management appointed a specific management representative(s) for the environmental management system?
  4. How does the Management Representative ensures that environmental management system requirements are established, implemented and maintained in accordance with ISO 14001:2004?
  5. Do the roles of the Management Representative include the reporting on the performance of the environmental management system to top management including recommendations for improvement?

Mandatory Procedure:

Not applicable

Mandatory record:

Not applicable

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

pdf Example for Procedure for Identification Of Resources, Roles, Responsibility, Accountability and Authority
pdf Example for role of appointment and responsibility of  Environmental Management as given in Environmental Manual
pdf Example for organization chart as given in Environmental Manual
pdf Example for organization profile as given in Environmental Manual

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