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Every organisation faces uncertainty and how this is addressed can influence and even determine success. ISO 14001 is based on the principle of risk-based thinking, which provides a structured and measured approach to the issues that are most likely to impact an organisation.

Risk is defined as the effect of uncertainty. Although risk is more commonly characterised as negative, ISO 14001:2015 also addresses the positive side of uncertainty; opportunity.

Through a proper understanding of the organisational context and key stakeholder needs, organisations can identify and manage the most important risks and opportunities
through a Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) structured management system, with planned changes being integrated into processes.