ISO 14001 Certification – Guidance to Protecting the Environment

Article written by:

Suzana Ajeti
ISO 14001 Certification - Guidance to Protecting the Environment

Industrialization and its impact on the environment

The Industrial Revolution marked a major turning point for the economic growth and development of a society. This process began in the 18th century in Great Britain, and increased tremendously, bringing wealth and power to several other countries. Replacing agrarian, handicraft economy with machinery manufacturing has changed production capabilities and labor patterns. As a result of mass production, use of energy increased and led to depletion of natural resources, such as deforestation. This inevitably brought carbon emission, pollution of the water, soil and of course, the primary issue global warming.

The global economy has learned its lesson and is aware that economic impact of global warming is highly important since it is costing the world more than $ 1.2 trillion a year. All businesses have a legal and moral obligation, to follow all environmental laws. The problem is that this issue is usually the last thing to be considered, especially for the companies which are in the growth process. This is not a smart move since the reason why most of the start-ups fail is the environment protection.

Nowadays, organizations are acting more quickly on going beyond environmental compliance, by implementing laws, regulations and environmental management systems, such is ISO 14001.

Why should you implement ISO 14001?

ISO 14001:2015 is the world’s most recognized framework for environmental management system. Governments around the world encourage the implementation of ISO 14001 and it has been adopted as a national standard by many countries. It is part of ISO 14000 family of standards that are designed to be mutually supportive, but also used independently. Organizations implement this structured system in order to have a better control of the environmental impacts and performance caused by the environmental aspects of various activities, services and products. In addition, the ISO 14001:2015 also emphasizes the importance of aspects and impact of product “life cycle”. However, the main driver for environmental improvement is the pressure received from the supply chain. Some suppliers understand that the dedication to improve the environmental performance will ensure their presence on suppliers’ lists.

ISO 14001 Infographic

Before the implementation, an organization needs to complete several steps such as:

  • Establishing environmental policy that reveals its responsibilities;
  • Identifying current and potential environmental impacts;
  • Determine the environmental risks that associated with the organization’s activities and processes;
  • Establishing objectives and programs to achieve the required targets;
  • Ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements;
  • Continuously improving the environmental performance by reducing pollution and waste. 
  • Initiate actions to prevent or at least mitigate the environmental risks.

Another important matter is training and awareness of employees about their responsibilities, at all levels. The higher understanding of what EMS offers and why is crucial for the company to implement it, the easier will be to apply it. Employees are trained accordingly to their roles in the company.  The environmental team should be aware of energy efficiency and waste management in order to create opportunities for improvement and cost savings. Alternative materials and production processes play a major role in environmental practices. 

ISO 14001 Certification

Once the standard is successfully implemented, the organization can apply for its EMS Certification. Organizations seek the certification due to supply chain pressure because they need to prove that their EMS meets the requirements of ISO 14001. In order to obtain the certification, an organization goes through 2 Stages of assessment processes, where internal policies and other procedures are being verified if they are in compliance with ISO 14001 requirements. Once these are completed, the client receives the ISO 14001 Certification, which proves the compliance with the relevant standard. 

Companies are aware of many benefits that the certification brings along, few of many are: 

  • Reduced waste;
  • Fulfill their legal obligations;
  • Safeguarding the environment as part of their social responsibility;
  • New clients and increased market share;
  • Creation of a corporate image and credibility;
  • Increased stakeholder (interested parties) confidence;
  • Access to a new market;
  • Lower operational costs;
  • Cost savings and much more.

Selecting accredited certification body

Choosing the right accredited certification body is a specified requirement to operate in the global marketplace. PECB offers ISO 14001 EMS Training and Certification services, with the support of highly qualified competent people that have relevant sector expertise, who will guide you through each step and help you overcome any obstacle you might encounter.  A worldwide recognition of the certification proves its credibility and great access to a domestic and oversea market, with an independent and impartial approach. ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Certification will improve your business performance and reduce cost while focusing on your impact on the environment.

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About the Author

Suzana Ajeti is a Portfolio Marketing Manager for Health, Safety & Environment at PECB. She is in charge of conducting market research while developing and providing information related to HSE standards. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact her: marketing.hse@pecb.com.

Contributor

Stephen Lim is PECB Certified Trainer and Managing Director, Principal Consultant & Trainer of JP Power Horizon. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact him: jp.power.stephen@gmail.com

Source

This article first appeared on the PECB Group Inc website www.pecb.com and the original article can be viewed by clicking here.