The International Organization for Standardization created the ISO 14001 standards in 1996. They are part of an international family of standards (ISO 14000), which is designed to encourage and guide environmental management. This standard is suitable for all types of organizations (federations, NGOs, companies, etc.) that are interested in improving their production, management, or operations to reduce environmental impact. As we will explain, you can check and have certified the guidelines of this standard (which was updated in 2015).
ISO 140001 Has Two Main Goals:
To provide a proven, standardized framework that can be used by organizations to help them develop an effective strategy for environmental management.
To be awarded an official award and prize for organizations that have made significant environmental efforts.
In 2017, ISO 14001 certification was granted to more than 362 thousand organizations. This certification is important for image purposes and to meet the needs of contractors who view it as proof of environmental concerns.
The Principles And ISO 14001
ISO 14001 does not have a legal obligation. It is voluntary, like all ISO standards. It is mandatory but does not require compliance with current environmental regulations and any future developments. The fundamental principle of ISO norms is continuous improvement in successive cycles according to the four-step process of the Deming cycle.
Implementing ISO 14001 Standards
The implementation of ISO 14001 standards follows the same steps as the PDCA cycle. It is done in three stages.
Auditing the organization’s current practices in environmental management and compliance with the ISO 14001 standards is the first step. This will enable organizations to get a clear view of their current procedures. It will make it easier for them to re-think or transform them to meet the ISO 14001 standards. Although this self-audit may be performed internally, all information regarding the organization’s policies and environmental procedures will need to be submitted to certification entities and verified by their consultants.
After the inventory is complete, a plan of actions and measures must be created (prerequisites for certification). These steps should be implemented by a set schedule. If the audit reveals that the organization has poor paper management, the program will likely focus on creating an efficient management process for these resources.
Finally, an evaluation of new practices and their environmental impacts will be performed regularly (an annual audit within three years), during which updates or modifications to the environmental management systems of the organizations may be requested.
The Environmental Advantages Of ISO 14001
ISO 14001 standards are primarily a management tool. They are not intended to compel certified organizations to meet certain environmental goals. ISO 14001 requires that all organizations certified under ISO 14001 have a set of procedures in place to manage their environmental impact. Although an ISO 14001 certificate does not mean that the organization is ecological, it is a certification that it has developed a system that helps it improve its environmental performance.
The Economic & Financial Benefits Of ISO 14001
Businesses can reap the economic and financial benefits of ISO 14001 standards. ISO 14001 certification can help companies be more competitive by improving their brand image and conforming to international standards. Companies can also perform better economically by implementing a resource management system that is efficient through ISO 14001 certification.
Strategies Used To Implement The ISO 14001 Standards
Each organization has its own unique environmental management strategy. The actions taken depend on the results of an audit and the company’s objectives. If a company wants to lower its energy consumption, strategies such as building insulation, heating, managing lighting, or optimizing computer systems can be implemented. The actions required for other purposes, such as reducing waste, pollution, or greenhouse gas emissions would be different.