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The ISO certifications, rewarding standards achieved in environmental management increased by more than 6,000 last year, bringing the total to just over 14,000 since their introductions in 1990, the organisation said on 9 August. The certificate is awarded world-wide to any business, public administration or government department, of any size, which has eliminated its harmful effects on the environment.

Japan, with almost 1,500 new certificates, experienced the strongest growth in ISO 14000 certification and has the world’s highest total, with more than 3,000. Also achieving praise from ISO were Britain, with 571 new certificates; Sweden, with 547; Spain, with 409; Australia, with 356, and USA, with 345. Spain was especially commended by achieving a 250% increase in certificates during the year.

Newcomers to the scheme in 1999 achieving certificates included organisations in 12 nations as diverse as Afghanistan, St Lucia and Zimbabwe.

The certificates are issued by more than 570 certification bodies active around the world in 84 countries, independently of ISO, and are is checked by independent auditors. ISO is an international body based in Switzerland, which develops voluntary technical standards for organisations’ environmental management.

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