Context of the organization

4.1 Understanding the organization and its context

The organization shall determine external and internal issues that are relevant to its purpose and
that affect its ability to achieve the intended outcomes of its environmental management system. Such issues shall include environmental conditions being affected by or capable of affecting the organization.

4.2 Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties

The organization shall determine:
a) the interested parties that are relevant to the environmental management system;
b) the relevant needs and expectations (i.e. requirements) of these interested parties;
c) which of these needs and expectations become its compliance obligations.

4.3 Determining the scope of the environmental management system

The organization shall determine the boundaries and applicability of the environmental management system to establish its scope.

When determining this scope, the organization shall consider:
a) the external and internal issues referred to in 4.1;
b) the compliance obligations referred to in 4.2;
c) its organizational units, functions and physical boundaries;
d) its activities, products and services;
e) its authority and ability to exercise control and inf luence.

Once the scope is defined, all activities, products and services of the organization within that scope need to be included in the environmental management system.

The scope shall be maintained as documented information and be available to interested parties.

4.4 Environmental management system

To achieve the intended outcomes, including enhancing its environmental performance, the organization shall establish, implement, maintain and continually improve an environmental management system, including the processes needed and their interactions, in accordance with the requirements of this International Standard.

The organization shall consider the knowledge gained in 4.1 and 4.2 when establishing and maintaining the environmental management system.