New standard in the ISO14000 stable

The International Standards Organisation has released a new tool designed to help businesses communicate their environmental credentials.

The ISO14000 is one of the most widely recognised environmental kitemarks and the latest update, the ISO14063, is expected to help companies promote their environmental achievements and performance as well as increase shareholder confidence.

This latest addition to the ISO14000 stable is all about communication and as well as helping organisations explain their position and outline the environmental implications of their activities, products and services it will also advise them to listen to interested parties - from customers to suppliers - and take their requests on board.

According to W Gary Wilson, chairman of the working group that developed the new standard, environmental communication is becoming an increasingly important activity for organizations, large and small, due to increased public awareness and concern, and environmental regulatory agencies' expectations.

"The huge and ever-growing global interest in the environment means that communicating environmental performance is both relevant and important, requiring particularly clear and transparent communication," he said.

"The new standard has been designed to assist any organization in the development of an environmental communication - no matter how simple or complex."

ISO 14063:2006 gives guidance to an organization on general principles, policy, strategy and activities relating to both internal and external environmental communication.

It provides examples and suggestions for effective environmental communication. This includes references to existing voluntary guidelines and approaches that are available to help improve the quality of environmental reports and communications.

The ISO has tried to make the standard accessible to everyone from the smallest SME to the biggest multinational.

"In the development of ISO 14063:2006, a key consideration for the experts was the conviction that environmental communication is well within the reach of any organization and any organization can reap the benefits," said Mr Wilson.

"The new standard will be a valuable tool for organizations, especially small and medium enterprises, who wish to make a statement concerning their environmental performance."
ISO14063 is available from national member institutes - in the UK that means the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA).

Martin Baxter, technical director at IEMA, said: "Communicating about your environmental performance is a key part of any effective environmental management activity.

"If we want to make progress towards environmental sustainability, we need to be effective on engaging people in environmental issues.

"This standard will help organisations become more effective in communicating with key stakeholders about their environmental performance."

Sam Bond



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