The NPS EMS Program and Revisions to ISO 14001

NPS developed the Environmental Management System (EMS) program to reduce environmental impacts and increase operating efficiency within parks and across regions. The NPS EMS program establishes park policies, ensures compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and helps parks manage and improve environmental performance by:

  • Developing policy.
  • Providing guidance.
  • Reviewing performance.
  • Addressing regulatory and enforcement issues.
  • Facilitating organizational changes to meet emerging environmental challenges.

The NPS EMS program is a stand-alone environmental management program (EMP), but integrates the basic elements of the ISO 14000 family of standards. Since the NPS EMS program integrates the basic elements required for ISO certification, it is helpful for concessioners to understand what these standards are and where they come from.

The ISO 14000 family of standards provides a framework for organizations to systematize and improve their environmental management efforts and responsibilities. ISO standards are reviewed every five years to ensure the standards are current and relevant to the marketplace. These standards are designed to work with any type of organization to help reduce:

  • Energy consumption.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Carbon foot-prints.
  • Waste.

ISO 14001:2015 is one of the world’s most recognized frameworks for environmental management systems, and the most recent to undergo a major overhaul. The latest revisions to ISO 14001:2015 help organizations stay up-to-date with changes in environmental management. The latest changes include:

  • Increased alignment with the strategic direction of individual organizations.
  • The addition of a communications strategy to enhance communication within the organization.
  • Greater focus on leadership and increased demand for environmental commitment.
  • The consideration of a product or service’s life-cycle to ensure the least environmental impact possible.
  • Greater protection for the environment, with a focus on proactive initiatives.

For more information on ISO, go to