ISO 14001 (International Standard for Environmental Management Systems) is an international standard. It provides guidelines and a framework for developing an environmental management program.
What’s The Most Basic Of ISO 14001?
ISO 14001 has been accepted as the international standard in environmental management. The International Organization for Standardization, an international body that develops and distributes standards worldwide, publishes this standard. The most recent version (ISO 14001, 2015) of the requirements for an environmental management system was published. It was adopted by a majority of member countries before being made available and updated. As such, it is internationally recognized and accepted by the majority of countries.
The number of ISO 14001 certified companies at the end of 2017, shows a consistent trend globally. Below are the 6-year-old results.
How Does ISO 14001 Look?
The first three sections are introductory. The last seven contain the requirements of an environmental management program. Let’s take a look at the seven main sections.
4: The Context Of The Organization – This section outlines requirements for understanding an organization to be able to implement an EMS. It addresses the needs for identifying and addressing external and internal issues, identifying and satisfying the expectations of interested parties, defining the scope, and identifying the processes that will be required to implement an EMS.
5: Leadership – These leadership requirements are for the top management who must be involved in the implementation of the EMS. Top management must show commitment to the EMS. They need to ensure environmental commitment, communicate the policy to the organization and assign roles and responsibilities.
6: Planning – The top management must also plan for EMS’s continued operation. It is necessary to evaluate the risks and opportunities associated with the EMS. Additionally, it is essential to identify and plan for the achievement of environmental goals. An organization should also evaluate the impact of organizational processes on the environment. This includes legal and contractual obligations.
7: Support –This support section deals in managing all resources for the EMS. It also covers communication and control of documented information (documents and records needed for your process).
8: Operation- These requirements include all aspects of the environment controls that are needed for the organizational processes. It also includes the need to identify and plan for emergencies to be prepared to respond to any such situation.
9: Performance Evaluation – The requirements for ensuring that your EMS works well are listed in this section. It covers the monitoring and measurement of your processes, assessing your environmental compliance, and continuing management review for the EMS.
10: Improvement – The final section outlines what you need to do to improve your EMS. This includes the requirement to determine process nonconformity.
These sections follow a Plan – Do-Check – Act cycle. It uses these elements to implement change within the organization to drive and keep improvements.
Why Should Your Organization Implement ISO 14001?
It is difficult to overstate the importance of ISO 14001. Companies large and smaller have used this standard to great advantage, as shown above. Here are just some benefits.
Improve Your Image, Credibility. You can improve your image through a strong public image and better community relations.
Improve Cost Control. A major improvement all companies seek is a reduction in costs. The EMS can assist with this by conserving energy, input materials, and reducing liability costs. Furthermore, better environmental controls can lead to lower insurance costs.
Make Evidence-Based Decisions. This will increase the likelihood that your improvements will succeed the first time, instead of failing to do so repeatedly. These data can help you track progress and make corrections before they go “off the rails.” This can help to save money and time.
Promote A Culture Of Continuous Improvement. With constant improvement, you can achieve better processes, reduce environmental impacts, and improve your public image. If there is a culture of improvement, people will be more open to learning new ways to improve their processes. This makes maintaining an EMS much easier.
Engage People. If you had to choose between working for a company with care and concern for the environment and one that doesn’t, most people would choose the first. Your employees can be engaged in a collective effort by the company to reduce its environmental footprint. This will increase employee focus and retention.