What is ISO 14001?
Protect the environment, build customer trust and meet your legal obligations by implementing an ISO 14001 environmental management system within your business.
Protecting the environment is an important business issue. Many organisations now require their suppliers to have specific environmental management plans. Implementing ISO 14001 policies will enable you to demonstrate to customers and stakeholders that your business is committed to reducing its environmental impact.
The ISO 14001 standard provides you with an internationally recognised framework for setting up an environmental management system (EMS). Any organisation can use the standard to reduce waste, improve resource efficiency and cut waste management costs.
ISO 14001 is the most important standard in the ISO 14000 series of environmental management standards. The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has developed this series for businesses and other organisations looking to reduce their environmental impact.
Why should you implement ISO 14001 in your organization?
The benefits of ISO 14001 cannot be overstated; companies large and small have used this standard to great effect, as mentioned above. Here are just a few of these benefits:
Improve your image and credibility – By assuring customers that you have a commitment to demonstrable management of your environmental impacts, you can enhance your image and market share through maintaining a good public image and improved community relations.
Improve cost control – One improvement that all companies are looking for is reduction of costs. The EMS can help with this by conserving energy and input materials, while reducing incidents for which a company can incur liability costs and improved environmental controls can help to obtain insurance at reduced costs to the company.
Use evidence-based decision making – By ensuring that you are using accurate data to make your decisions on what to improve, you can greatly increase the chances that your improvements will be successful the first time rather than having several unsuccessful attempts. By using this data to track your progress you can correct these improvement initiatives before they have gone “off the rails,” which can save costs and time.
Create a culture of continual improvement – With continual improvement, you can work toward better processes and reduced environmental impacts in a systematic way in order to improve your public image and potentially reduce your costs, as identified above. When a culture of improvement is created, people are always looking for ways to make their processes better, which makes maintaining the EMS easier.
Engage your people – Given a choice between working for a company that shows care and concern for the environment around it and one that does not, most people would prefer the first company. By engaging your employees in a group effort to reduce your environmental footprint you can increase employee focus and retention.
Are you ready to implement ISO 14001?
Every organization has different environmental planning needs and challenges. That’s why we customize our ISO 14001 service packages to suit your requirements. We can include specific services to help you achieve effective environmental management – and we can cut the cost of services you don’t need.
Getting to the heart of why ISO 14001 is important
Taking care of our environment, and preventing our companies from causing negative impacts on the environment, are two of the most important challenges facing businesses today. One of the biggest benefits of implementing an EMS is the recognition that comes with being among those businesses that care enough to reduce their environmental footprint. This can bring better relationships with customers, the public, and the community at large for your company, but it also brings other benefits.
Along with the good public image, many companies can save money through the implementation of an environmental management system. This can be achieved through reducing incidents that can result in liability costs, being able to obtain insurance at a more reasonable cost, and conserving input materials and energy through reduction efforts. This improvement in cost control is a benefit that cannot be overlooked when making the decision to implement an environmental management system.
To implement ISO 14001 successfully, your organization should:
Gain commitment and support from senior management
Engage everyone in the business with effective internal communication
Compare your existing quality systems with ISO 14001 requirements
Get customer and supplier feedback on your current environmental management
Establish an implementation team to deliver the best results
Map out and share roles, responsibilities and timescales
Adapt the basic principles of environmental management to your business
Encourage employee involvement by offering training and incentives
Share ISO 14001 knowledge and encourage employees to train as internal auditors
Regularly review your ISO 14001 system to ensure continuous improvement.
What does ISO 14001 actually look like?
The ISO 14001 structure is split into ten sections. The first three are introductory, with the last seven containing the requirements for the environmental management system. Here is what the seven main sections are about:
Section 4: Context of the organization – This section talks about requirements for understanding your organization in order to implement an EMS. It includes the requirements for identifying internal and external issues, identifying interested parties and their expectations, defining the scope of the EMS and identifying the processes required for the EMS.
Section 5: Leadership – The leadership requirements cover the need for top management to be instrumental in the implementation of the EMS. Top management needs to demonstrate commitment to the EMS by ensuring environmental commitment, defining and communicating the environmental policy and assigning roles and responsibilities throughout the organization.
Section 6: Planning – Top management must also plan for the ongoing function of the EMS. Risks and opportunities of the EMS in the organization need to be assessed, and environmental objectives for improvement need to be identified and plans made to accomplish these objectives. Additionally, it is necessary for the organization to assess all the ways in which the organizational processes interact and affect the environment as well as the legal and other commitments that are required fo the organization.
Section 7: Support – The support section deals with management of all resources for the EMS, and also includes requirements around competence, awareness, communication and controlling documented information (the documents and records required for your processes).
Section 8: Operation – The operation requirements deal with all aspects of the environmental controls needed by the organizational processes, as well as the need to identify potential emergency situations and plan responses so that you are prepared to respond should an emergency occur.
Section 9: Performance evaluation – This section includes the requirements needed to make sure that you can monitor whether your EMS is functioning well. It includes monitoring and measuring your processes, assessing environmental compliance, internal audits, and ongoing management review of the EMS.
Section 10: Improvement – This last section includes the requirements needed to make your EMS better over time. This includes the need to assess process nonconformity and taking corrective actions for processes.
These sections are based on a Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, which uses these elements to implement change within the processes of the organization in order to drive and maintain improvements within the processes.
Complete a Quote Request Form so that we can understand your company and requirements. You can do this by completing either the online quick quote or the online formal quote request form. We will use this information to accurately define your scope of assessment and provide you with a proposal for certification.
Once you’ve agreed your proposal, we will contact you to book your assessment with an SCP Assessor. This assessment consists of two mandatory visits that form the Initial Certification Audit. Please note that you must be able to demonstrate that your management system has been fully operational for a minimum of three months and has been subject to a management review and full cycle of internal audits.
Following a successful two stage audit, a certification decision is made and if positive, then certification to the required standard is issued by SCP. You will receive both a hard and soft copy of the certificate. Certification is valid for three years and is maintained through a programme of annual surveillance audits and a three yearly recertification audit.