ISO 14001 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT STANDARD
ISO 14001 is the Environmental Management Standard. This ISO Standard evolved from the drive to enhance organisations’ environmental performance. This Standard will assist in systematically managing key environmental impacts of your business. The standard was recently reviewed and confirmed as the current standard. With an established track record this is a powerful management tool. In particular, ISO 14001 will effectively organise the management of the following aspects of your business…
- Environmental, legal, customer and public pressures.,
- Environmental risks,
- Reducing the Environmental impact of your business activities, and
- Continual improvement of your approach to these key impacts.
There are important benefits gained from implementing ISO 14001.
What is ISO 14001 Certification?
The trend toward better stewardship of the environment is now embodied in the regulatory framework of most major economies. The public, which includes your customers, are increasingly sensitive to the decline of global environments and local environments. Therefore, it is increasingly important to carefully manage the interface between your business and the environment. ISO 14001 requires you to identify and to control of your regulatory and other responsibilities. It also should improve your organisation’s public relations position.
ISO 14001 is not just about the high-profile Environmental Initiatives. The Standard is also about monitoring waste and energy use. Furthermore, the daily control of your operations form a significant part of the requirements. Together, these determine and implement Environmental Best Practice applied in practical situations along with suitable limits and controls. Additionally, ISO 14001 is about practical and effective decision-making. With these aspects of the Management Standard in place you will be able to agree and practice, what happens if the operation breeches your limits. This may be due to an accident or breakage or also a concerning trend. The important point is, you will be able to plan for and control environmental situations, not just firefight in response to an emergency.
Public evidence of your commitment
With the increasing importance of reducing Environmental impact, ISO 14001 is an ideal method of managing the process. Certification provides you with both the evidence of your work and, through Certification, a public demonstration of your commitment to the environment.
ISO 14001 Certification developed using the same systematic Management approach as taken by ISO 9001. However, ISO 14001 concentrates on the management of Environmental risks and resources. Also, in common with other Management Standards, ISO 14001 is a fully documented system. Consequently, the relevant legal and regulatory requirements of your business must be documented and linked to relevant environmental risks faced by your organisation. Within the Standard, these ‘risks’ come under the term, “aspects and impacts”.
Environmental Risk Analysis leads to improvement.
A completed risk analysis of the ‘aspects and impacts’ leads you on to the next stage of ISO 14001. Your organisation must set out how you control, manage and reduce those risks. The Standard does not specify particular environmental performance criteria. After all, the Standard could not specify ways to meet every environmental situation. However, the Standard requires you to decide on suitable and relevant performance measurements. These performance measures must be reasonable and appropriate for the situation and the risks involved. It is important that the documentation and evidential records you collect must properly record these measures in action. As a result, you will be able to demonstrate the environmental improvements your organisation has made. Indeed, you will also have a body of evidence in your records to show that you are properly meeting your environmental responsibilities.
Like the other Management Standards, ISO 14001 specifies the need for internal as well as external Assessment and Certification. Fortunately, that is a good thing. Certification, is a public statement you have been independently Assessed as conforming to the legal requirements. You will be meeting your responsibility to the environment. At the same time, your organisation will also be able to demonstrate that your actions have improved upon your previous position. Continual Improvement is another important aspect of ISO 14001. It also has a positive internal and public relations spinoff.
ISO 14001 is relevant to any business that has any sort of environmental impact. The Standard allows you to demonstrate that you are able to meet your environmental responsibilities. Further, it ensures that your business conforms to its legal and other responsibilities, improves its environmental impact and manages its environmental risks. In addition, you will be able to point to external Certification as validation of that situation.
Benefits of ISO 14001?
Since the Industrial Revolution began, man has been heavily exploiting the environment. Today, Governments recognise that future economic success means that business organisations need to face the reality of that exploitation and work to mitigate environmental risk and damage. However, the ISO 14001 Management Standard is not a burden on business. On the contrary, there are considerable benefits for organisations committed to environmental improvement. Successful Certification to ISO 14001 confers many benefits.
Reducing Environmental Impact and making savings
Successful environmental impact control usually means the organisation will also reduce waste & inefficiencies. By looking at the needs of the organisation in an environmental context, you will see that opportunities exist for many savings. Those savings often come through resource efficiency, waste reduction and control, as well as recycling.
Understand and manage legal and other requirements
Environmental legislation is fraught with legal difficulties and complex constraints. Managing the legal and regulatory framework is so much easier, and less risky, when you have a proper management process for handling such demands. ISO 14001 is the Standard that will enable you to put that management process in place. Environmental accidents are difficult and extremely expensive to defend. Effective and consistent management of the risks involved can protect your organisation against expensive or dangerous Environmental mistakes.
Protect and Improve your Reputation
As you are controlling your legal and regulatory responsibilities, you will also assure your customers and business partners of your commitment and responsibility. In the court of public opinion, an irresponsible environmental attitude will seriously damage your reputation. An actual court case could condemn your organisation to difficult public relations for many years. We can all remember serious environmental disasters from the past. In this particular field the opinions of the public quickly become the opinions of your customers. So, making the effort to protect your environmental interests will help to conserve your reputation. That in turn will place your organisation in a favourable light with your customers. That is an important consideration for companies of all sizes.
Better manage and reduce near-misses and incidents
ISO 14001 not only covers the legal requirements, but also better management of operations in an environmental context. Accidents and incidents happen. That is inevitable. However, the Standard also makes you look beyond just compliance to the responsibilities. Your organisation must also examine your environmentally sensitive operations as well. Consequently, you will need to find ways to operationally reduce risks, as well as the near misses and potentially threatening environmental incidents. Effective internal controls will help defend your organisation against legal challenges. However, it will also save the lengthy and expensive ‘clean up costs’ often associated with environmental problems.
ISO 14001 Improves Efficiency and Effectiveness
Organisations that take a careful look at their environmental impact usually find they get an unexpected payback. Most quickly realise that they are also being inefficient. Often managements find that there are innovative and clever ways to improve resource efficiency and operational effectiveness where environmental impact is an issue. This is for two reasons. Many employees are now aware of the environmental issues around them. They often become highly motivated to solve these issues. Secondly, a great many technical advances have been made in the last few years to improve resource efficiency as well as the operational processes associated with resource use. Together, these can make for significant changes and improvements and make a considerable difference to your business – as well as improve the environment. Better use of resources and more efficient processes will reduce environmental pressures and dangerous outcomes. And, in future, these investments will save money too.
Required by Customers… improved competitiveness
Regulatory compliance tends to drive the need to implement ISO 14001 in your organisation However, it is also a requirement of many of your customers. They will often be in a ‘compliance chain’ where they need assurance that suppliers can demonstrate conformance to environmental standards. Consequently, they can then meet their own regulatory responsibilities in their industry. Therefore, getting your own Certification in this important area opens new markets to your business. Yes, not only will you be improving the environment, but you will be gaining parity with your competitors. Furthermore, you could find your business is better able to attract new business. This is true locally, regionally and on a global scale.
A better environment for everyone
One other consequence of a responsible environmental attitude is that everyone sees the environment improve. Of course, that is great for ‘everyone’. However, how does that help your business? One unintended outcome of getting your employees involved is the considerable motivation it often stirs up. People get really ‘into’ environmental issues. Cleaning up the environment often promotes employee participation in ‘events’ and ‘activities’ that bring you into favour with the local community. Often staff become motivated about also cleaning up the local environment at work too. Sometimes there are attractive grants, great public relations outcomes and other spin-offs. These sorts of environmental activities can lead to more attractive workplaces and local areas. In turn, these lead to higher property prices, the ability to attract high calibre staff and better community relations. These all lead to good things for a modern business.
Integrates with other ISO Standards
Integration between management systems is an important factor when considering the future of your business. The foundation standard for Management Systems is ISO 9001. That Standard provides the central functions common to other management standards. If you have already achieved ISO 9001 Certification, then it is easier to harmonise with other standards like ISO 14001. Conversely, successful achievement of ISO 14001 will also help you take steps to implement further specialist standards. This is because the management processes themselves are compatible. Thus, it will be easier to extend your existing systems.
Why You need ISO 14001?
This Management Standard is for any Organisation that is serious about the Environment and the Environmental impact of its products and services. All requirements of this International Standard are generic and intended to be applicable to all organisations. That applies regardless of type, size, process and product or service involved. It covers all the aspects of your business which affect the Environment.
All the parts of ISO 14001 should be included into any environmental management system. However, every Environmental Management System will be unique because of the differences in requirements, resources, activities, products and services, as well as locations. Furthermore, many organisations operate with a range of locations and activities. Consequently, you may face local issues, circumstances and needs that make parts of your organisation respond to ISO 14001 differently. Your organisation needs to be flexible and responsive to these local needs. Fortunately, CHARTER 4 has experience of this variable type of situation. That experience uniquely places us to help your business respond appropriately. We can help you meet the special needs of your ISO 14001 system and take you through to successful Certification.
How to move your business forward
Get started now and bring the benefit to your business sooner. At CHARTER4 we have been helping businesses of all sizes to implement ISO Standards for more than 20 years. However, we go further than just helping to implement your chosen Standard. Aside from the all-important Certification we ensure that you, “Improve your business, rather than just comply”. That is to say, we have methods and techniques which help you to use your certification to achieve a real return from your Certification. Management Standards are about helping your business to meet requirements. We help you find ways to ensure it improves your business too.
Would you like to know more about our unique approach to implementing ISO projects? Simply click one of the buttons below and we will contact you to help you move your business into a successful future.
Certification with Charter 4 – the Business Benefits
- Improve, rather than just comply.
- Full service and ongoing support to compliment your resources.
- Build on your Processes & Systems (no standard templates).
- Help defining your Best Practice.
- Certification by independent UKAS accredited Assessors.
- 100% Success & guaranteed support until Certification.
- Help to get Government Grant (when available).
- Flexible support to complement your resources.
We made a big difference to the local environment and at the same time met our legal responsibilities. I feel I can sleep at night now. Oh, and the staff really got involved too. That was great.