Consumers nowadays are more conscious about the impact their actions have on the environment and they want the companies they shop from to show at least the same level of concern about our plant. The quality of your products and services isn’t the only factor that they take into account when deciding what company to choose. They also want businesses that are sustainable and care about reducing their impact on the environment. Being certified and having an environmental management system (EMS) in place are great ways of meeting the expectations of your consumers as well as policymakers.
ISO 14001 is perhaps one of the best known international standards for environmental management systems. Certification to ISO 14001: 2015 standard is a great way of showing customers, suppliers, and stakeholders your commitment to the environment. It can also help you stand out among your competitors.
But, these are just some of the benefits of adhering to the ISO 14001 standard. In this article, we will try to better understand the use and importance of this standard and why you should implement ISO 14001.
ISO 14001: A Definition
Environmental sustainability has become a major concern for both consumers and governmental organisations. The policies and legal structures that a company must adhere to are also becoming increasingly complex. Businesses need a framework for managing their environmental risks.
That’s where ISO 14001 comes into play.
ISO 14001 is the international standard for designing and implementing environmental management systems. It provides the means to identify, assess, manage, and control the environmental impact of a business’ processes, products, and services.
The standard is published by ISO (the International Organisation for Standardization), an organisation that develops and publishes commercial, proprietary, and industry standards that are accepted worldwide.
The most recent version of this standard has been updated and published in 2015 and is known as “ISO 14001:2015.”
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How Does ISO 14001 Actually Work?
ISO 14001 provides companies a framework for creating environmental management systems that fit their organisation so that they ensure that every process and aspect of their business is taken into consideration. The ISO 14001 is split into ten sections, but the first three ones are purely introductory, so we’re just going to focus a bit on the last seven.
- Section 4: Context of the Organisation:
You need an in-depth understanding of your organisation before you can create and implement effective environmental management systems. That means that you need to identify the potential threats and issues, the interested parties, the scope of your EMS, and the processes required to develop and implement it.
- Section 5: Leadership
You cannot create an effective EMS without the involvement and commitment of the top management. They need to define the policies, assign the roles, and so on.
- Section 6: Planning
The top management should also be in charge of identifying and assessing all how the business’ operations and processes impact the environment and create a plan for assessing them.
- Section 7: Support
This section refers to the resources needed for supporting the EMS, including human resources, financial ones, and so on.
- Section 8: Operation
This section focuses on the environmental control needed by the organisational processes.
- Section 9: Performance Review
The ongoing management review of your system is paramount to ensure the successful implementation and continual improvement of your EMS. That includes monitoring and measuring, internal audits, and examining environmental performance and compliance.
- Section 10: Improvement
You need to continually assess the effectiveness of your EMS and improve it.
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Do You Really Need ISO 14001?
Reducing your environmental impact should be reason enough for complying with the international management system standards and designing your EMS. But, there is more to ISO 14001 than just the environmental aspects.
- Improve Your Image: As mentioned before, customers nowadays what to shop from conscious brands that are taking the necessary steps to protect the planet. By implementing ISO 14001, you are showing consumers that you are doing your part in protecting the environment.
- Backup Decisions with Data: With an EMS, you can collect and track data that you can then use to make decisions that are in tune with what your organisation actually needs to improve.
- Better Cost Control: With an EMS, you can reduce costs by conserving energy but also by reducing the number of threats that your company could be held accountable for.
- Improve Employee Retention: It’s not only the consumers that care about environmental conscious companies. Employees do too. By engaging your employees in a collective effort of reducing your environmental impact, you can increase their company loyalty and retention.
Do You Need Help Becoming ISO 14001 Certified?
Getting your certification requires quite a lot of work, including internal audits, management review, quality control, and so on. Of course, you also need to ensure that your environmental management system complies with international standards.
That’s why it would be better to work with a professional like Best Practice Biz. We can help with your ISO certification journey and make sure that you will gain a significant advantage over your competitors.
Get in touch now.