Archive: ISO 14001:1996 Self-Assessment Checklist

Please note the following document was published by GEMI in 1996. 

In 2016, GEMI released a new checklist to reflect the ISO 14001:2015 updates.  

Please visit to access the latest version of this tool.

ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Self-Assessment Checklist

The ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Self-Assessment Checklist has been developed to improve facility managers’ understanding of the requirements and elements of the environmental management system outlined in the ISO 14001 draft international standard. It is designed to allow for a rapid self-assessment of an organization or facility to determine how closely existing management practices and procedures correspond to the elements of the standard. The criteria of the draft standard have been rephrased in the format of a simple questionnaire, with a three-part scoring system, as explained in this document. In addition to a brief guide to self-scoring, a fuller description of what is required by the standard’s criteria is included in the appendix. In this format, even with limited background knowledge of the ISO 14001 standard, a facility or other business manager can quickly review existing operations to determine how they measure up to the standard. This in turn can serve as the starting point of a “gap analysis” to identify management tools or system elements that might usefully be implemented in the organization to help improve overall environmental performance.

The ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Self-Assessment Checklist contains a total of 31 questions in five different sections, corresponding to the five guiding principles listed in the ISO 14004 standard, to identify to what extent your environmental management system is complete in comparison to the requirements set in the ISO 14001 standard.

To facilitate answering the questions, there is a table beneath each question with three columns of examples. Each column corresponds to a score: “0”: a situation which does not comply at all with the requirement; “1”: a situation where the requirement is more or less fulfilled, but where there is still room for improvement and a score “1” applies; and “2” a situation in which the requirement appears to be completely fulfilled. It is possible to calculate a score by using one of two methods. In the first method, you should begin with the first column to determine if the situation described therein accurately reflects the situation in your organization or facility. If not, then proceed to the second column and make the same decision. Eventually, move on to the third column and ask the same questions. In this way, you “build” progressively on your score.

A perfect score of “62” (i.e., every question received a score of 2) would, if responded to thoroughly and honestly, indicate that the organization has all of the requisite EMS elements and procedures called for in the draft standard, sufficiently implemented to adhere to the standard. A score of “0” would likely seldom, if ever, occur, since even the most rudimentary elements of mere legal compliance would normally oblige the use of a minimum of management practices. It is important to bear in mind that how well an organization implements the standard’s requirements is not the level of performance achieved using the standard, but the completeness and adequacy of the procedures and systems established to achieve that performance. For ease of interpreting scores, we have broken down the standard into its principle elements and have established a rating system based on three ranges of possible score for each. A high score in any section is not necessarily a sign that the requirement is essentially met, if the core key criteria in that section are not met. Moreover, because all principles and elements are closely interlinked, a low score in any given section could place in doubt the higher scores achieved elsewhere. On the other hand, scoring at least 1 or 2 in each question should give the organization the confidence that its management approaches are compatible with the EMS as described in ISO 14001.