Edie explains: ISO 14001

In the latest edie explains, we take a look at ISO 14001 - the updated version of the environmental management framework outlined by the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

ISO 14001 outlines how to put an effective environmental management system in place. It is designed to help businesses remain commercially successful without overlooking environmental responsibilities.

There are now more than 301,000 certificates issued across the world – an increase of more than 17,000 last year. Adherence to these standards is voluntary.

What’s new?

Changes to ISO 14001 – which are expected to come into force towards the end of 2015 – will see the standard integrated into core business processes, along with an extra focus on leadership and top management and communication performance.

The latest revision has been welcomed by more than 90% of environment and sustainability professionals (IEMA members), with particular support for proposals to align environmental management systems with an organisation’s core strategy.

All ISO standards undergo a review every three to five years to ensure they are relevant and up to date.

How does it work?

The ISO 14001 standard is based on the Plan-Check-Do-Review-Improve cycle.

The Plan cycle deals with the beginning stages of an organisation becoming ISO 14001-compliant. The Check cycle deals with checking and correcting errors. The Do cycle is the implementation and operation of the ISO 14001 standard within an organisation. The Review cycle is a review of the entire process by the organisation’s top management. And the Improve cycle is “a cycle that never ends as an organisation continually finds ways to improve their environmental management system.

Why should my business comply?

Applications are often driven by customer demand or legislation, and certified organisations can see a variety of benefits, including efficiencies, cost savings and winning business.

The benefits of using ISO 14001 include:

– Reduced cost of waste management
– Savings in consumption of energy and materials
– Lower distribution costs
– Improved corporate image among regulators, customers and the public

How do I get certified?

The ISO14001 framework is explained here. ISO does not perform certification itself. This is performed by external certification bodies, thus a company or organisation cannot be certified by ISO.

If a company wants to achieve certification for reputation/legal reasons, this can be done by independent certification bodies. ISO recommends you evaluate several certification bodies and use an accredited body

VIDEO: Chair of the subcommittee reviewing ISO 14001 tells us what’s new, and what’s next for the standard:

FIND OUT MORE: ISO 14001:2015 at Sustainability Live

A full discussion on the ISO 14001 revision will take place at Sustainability Live 2015 as part of a special energy management standards session which will address updates for this and other related standards.  

Register to attend Sustainability Live in April for free here.

edie staff

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