ISO 14001 Guidance - 4. Implementation and operation

4.1. Resources, roles, responsibility and authority

The successful implementation of an environmental management system calls for a commitment from all persons working for the organization or on its behalf. Environmental roles and responsibilities therefore should not be seen as confined to the environmental management function, but can also cover other areas of an organization, such as operational management or staff functions other than environmental.

This commitment should begin at the highest levels of management. Accordingly, top management should establish the organization's environmental policy and ensure that the environmental management system is implemented. As part of this commitment, top management should designate a specific management representative(s) with defined responsibility and authority for implementing the environmental management system. In large or complex organizations, there may be more than one designated representative. In small or medium-sized enterprises, these responsibilities may be undertaken by one individual. Management should also ensure that appropriate resources, such as organizational infrastructure, are provided to ensure that the environmental management system is established, implemented and maintained. Examples of organizational infrastructure include buildings, communication lines, underground tanks, drainage, etc.

It is also important that the key environmental management system roles and responsibilities are well defined and communicated to all persons working for or on behalf of the organization.