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The ISO created a variety of standards that created consensus-based expectations across global industries, governments, organizations, and markets, which has largely boosted globalization. Hence the availability of a large number of ISO Standard for organizations to follow. ISO 9001:2015 is the world’s most popular standard followed by ISO 14001:2015.
This popularity is due to the fact that many organizations in the world are certified ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. These two ISO Standards cover two important areas in our globalized world, which are Quality Management for ISO 9001 and Environmental Management for ISO 14001.
Both standards are quite important across the globe and learning their similarities and differences could help grow your organization. Read on to learn the similarities and differences.

• What is ISO 9001?
ISO 9001 refers to a quality management standard that was originally introduced in 1987 and is published by ISO (the International Organization for Standardization). Now in its fourth revision (referred to as ISO 9001:2015), the standard has become an increasingly popular tool for businesses to improve their operations and increase their customer appeal. Before getting certified you need to implement ISO 9001 at your organization and set up an ISO quality management system. While its ultimate aim is to increase quality and customer satisfaction, ISO 9001 also improves other operational processes throughout the organization, leading to a wide range of benefits and efficiency gains. Implemented well, ISO is an excellent tool for general business improvement.

• What is ISO 14001?
ISO 14001 is an international standard that specifies the requirements for an Environment Management System (EMS). The international standard is intended for use by an organization to enhance its environmental performance and manage its environmental responsibilities in a systematic manner. The framework was founded on the concept of Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA).
ISO 14001 standard has many benefits, the reason why companies should consider adopting it as one of their strategic approaches to improving their environmental performance.

• Similarities Between ISO 9001 and ISO 14001
ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 are both ISO management system standards (MSS). This means they share a number of requirements because all ISO-MSS follow the same High-Level Structure (HLS). All MSS have a similar design, which allows for integration between systems from different disciplines like quality and environmental management.
Below are the ten shared clauses of the HLS that can be considered as similarities between ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.
1- Scope: Sets out the scope of the ISO standards (E.g., quality, health & safety, etc)
2- Normative References: A list of references documents needed for the application of the standard.
3- Terms and Definitions: A list of generic and standard-specific terms and their definitions.
4- Context of the Organization: Requirements linked to issues that affect organizations. These can be internal or external.
5- Leadership: Sets out what is required from those in senior positions at your organization.
6- Planning: Outlines the approach your organization must take to address threats and opportunities.
7- Support: This clause lays out the resources that need to be provided to support the management system.
8- Operation: Sets out how organizations must determine the processes required for their operations.
9- Performance Evaluation: Details what organizations must monitor and report upon.
10- Improvement: Lists the requirements for dealing with non-conformities and incidents.

• Differences Between ISO 9001 and ISO 14001
The main difference between the two is what they address. The ISO 9001 addresses an entity’s approach to quality. It will involve measuring quality in key areas like management responsibility, customer satisfaction, and resource management.
On the other hand, ISO 14001 focuses on how well an entity can manage its environment. The ISO 14001 is based on continual improvement, whereby an organization will need to implement and improve environmental conservation processes and monitor them continually. While both standards share clauses from the ISO’s HLS (High-Level Structure), there is a difference between how the clauses are implemented.

In conclusion, there are a number of significant differences between ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. More than anything else, this is down to the different focus of the respective standards. 9001 has requirements specific to the issue of quality management. While 14001 has requirements specific to the issue of environmental management.
However, there are also similarities between the two standards. This is due to both being ISO-MSS and so both following the HLS. This makes it easier for organizations looking to implement more than one ISO-MSS at once, as certain requirements are shared.

What's Next?

Now that you’ve learned about the differences between ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, learn about the benefits of ISO 14001.

Romeo Elias

Written by Romeo Elias

Romeo Elias is the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Intellect, an award winning leader in the SaaS enterprise software industry with a focus on enterprise Quality Management Software and Business Process Management (BPM). Romeo is a visionary executive, thought leader and advocate for business friendly software that requires No Programming and empowers everyone to innovate. Romeo has overseen Intellect's growth from its founding in 2000 to a high growth software company with hundreds of happy customers. Romeo is a patented inventor, entrepreneur advisor, and board member of Intellect. Prior to Intellect, Romeo worked in the consumer electronics space, overseeing the engineering design and development of handheld electronics, and previously was the founder of a web development firm. He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, San Diego and MS in Manufacturing Engineering from UCLA.