ISO 14001 vs Existing Quality System - How to keep them separate?

I am having a hard time finding information about keeping our current, cumbersome, complicated quality system (IATF 16949) and our new ISO 14001 system (which is in development) separate.

Our quality system contains our manufacturing processes and materials/product recycling. How can I say in the EMS that our processes and materials/product recycling are controlled without crossing the two and avoiding a cross audit??

Sidney Vianna

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Staff member
Welcome to The Cove. :bigwave:

How can I say in the EMS that our processes and materials/product recycling are controlled without crossing the two and avoiding a cross audit??
You shouldn't. Any business process has multiple implications (quality, occupational safety, environmental impact, etc...) If you want sustainable processes and systems you HAVE TO find ways to embed your QMS, EMS, OHSMS, etc... into your BUSINESS PROCESSES.

A COMPETENT, knowledgeable, professional and serious external auditor MUST realize the scope of the audit and avoid delving into areas that are not part of their assessment.

You SHOULD NEVER design YOUR SYSTEM for what an external auditor could do, because you are the one who has to live with, support and improve the system day in, day out. The auditor role is to assess the system against a set of requirements. If s/he deviates from the scope of engagement, they are the problem, not your system.

Good luck.
So, it is ok for me to put on our Impacts list that our manufacturing materials/defective product recycling is managed by our quality system?

Thank you.

John C. Abnet

Good day CL Stewart;
The short answer is "yes", it's ok.
As mentioned by Sidney Vianna, the system should work for you and your organization. A simple/integrated management system (9001; IATF, 14001, etc..etc..) will help your current teams (and more importantly, FUTURE team members) understand and locate the information necessary from your integrated management system. I am concerned by your comment "...cumbersome, complicated, quality system...". If I may be so bold, this condition is usually a result of an organization not understanding the rule and intent of the standard, and, therefore, adding "layers" of documents and activity beyond what is in the best interest of the organization. When I am working with an organization I spend a lot of time "reverse engineering" (i.e. understanding what the organization is ALREADY doing and then identifying that in alignment with the requirements of the governing international standard(s) , instead of creating new and burdensome (non-beneficial) documents and methods. Even before the introduction of the HLS I would integrate management systems for the purpose of creating a comprehensive, streamlined, and concise management system. The primary international standards are now established under the HLS format, making integration easier than ever.
Consider this:
Procedures (who-what-when);
Minimalist documentation that is comprehensive of governing standards AND the company's corporate intent.
Work instructions (how);
Created only when necessary and providing job detail. These can be referenced by their umbrella procedure(s) and become the place where IATF and 14001 (in your example) truly separate.
Forms (result-record):
Reference by their governing instructions and used to log the required/needed records.

Feel free to DM me or reach out on Linkedin @ if you have any specific questions I can help with.

Be well.

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