How long does it take to achieve ISO 14001?

This is one of the most often asked questions. The truth is there is no set time scales that can be given because there are so many variables as each company/organisation is different. However you need to consider some of the following points which will give you some indications on your progress towards accreditation :

Have you got in place all the necessary documents?

Have you carried out internal audits, and do you have records in place to support this?

Is there sufficient documented evidence (documents can be electronic as well as hard copy) to enable an auditor to follow the complete environmental process from start to finish?  Typically the auditor will want to see at least 3 projects at audit. Have you had a Management Review and are minutes available? Are all your waste licenses, carriers notes, transfer notes, exemption certificates (Where applicable) up to date ?  Do you know you are legally compliant and have you evaluated your compliance? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourselves. As a rule of thumb, you need to have at least 3 months worth of records to support your Environmental System. Some people would argue that it is possible to achieve registration with less than 3 months records, but personally as an auditor as well as a consultant I think 3 months is a minimum. So if you are fully committed to achieving ISO14001 in a short space of time and you have the infrastructure and drive, it is possible to achieve ISO14001 in 3 months from start to finish. But as I said earlier it could take considerably longer depending on the nature of the business, the complexity, the determination of the business and commitment.