One of the biggest challenges that businesses face today is managing their environmental impact and environmental issues related to their business. More people than ever are aware of issues like climate change, pollution, carbon footprints and contamination which means that organisations need to do their part to ensure they manage and reduce their environmental impact.
Here we take a look at ISO 14001, what it is, the advantages and what businesses might benefit the most from ISO 14001 certification.
What is ISO 14001?
ISO 14001 is an internationally agreed standard that sets out requirements for a robust environmental management system that works to manage environmental responsibilities and improve environmental performance.
ISO 14001 can be applied to almost any business or organisation regardless of their industry, location, type, scale, size and complexity from small businesses to large factories. This standard provides a specific framework that helps companies to better manage their environmental impact whilst being broad enough that it is suitable for a wide range of sectors.
The structure of ISO 14001 is split into 10 sections of which 1-3 are introductory and information based. Sections 4-10 contain the requirements for the environmental management system.
- Context of the organisation
- Performance evaluation
What are the advantages of ISO 14001?
There are various benefits for business that choose to become ISO 14001 certified, such as;
- Reduce environmental impact through an effective EMS.
- Comply with relevant legislation, laws and regulations which helps to avoid fines and prosecution.
- Reduced energy consumption and waste through improved efficiency across the life cycle.
- Builds trust with customers, clients and suppliers.
- Helps to gain a significant competitive advantage by demonstrating your commitment to sustainability.
- Provide cost savings by waste reduction and spending less on raw materials.
- Better environmental performance of suppliers by establishing measures and objectives.
- Shows you are concerned about the environment and dedicated to managing your impact which goes a long way to improving your company / brand reputation.
- Engages management and employee to increase their commitment to the environment.
- Provides access to more tendering opportunities that may have previously been out of reach due to them requiring ISO 14001 certification as a prerequisite.
- Increased confidence from stakeholders by improving relationships.
- Being able to clearly demonstrate your environmental awareness helps to win more business and achieve a higher success rate of obtaining new clients.
Businesses that might benefit from ISO 14001 certification
ISO 14001 is suitable for organisations of all size and types including private businesses, not-for-profit entities, and government entities. Although it can be applied to any industry or company, there are those who would particularly benefit from becoming ISO 14001 certified, such as businesses and organisations who;
- Are in sectors which require ISO 14001 certification as standard like – chemical manufacturing, oil refineries, construction, automotive, consumer goods manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.
- Are involved in activities that can have inevitable consequences for the environment.
- Want to improve cost control.
- Extensively use natural resources.
- Release waste into the environment.
- Are looking to improve their corporate image and credibility.