ISO 14001 specifies for companies what the requirements are for and environmental management system. These standards were finalized in 1996. ISO 14001 refers to things which a company has control over, and how their operations impact the environment. These standards are internationally recognized. Standards are updated 5-yearly.
This certification has grown in popularity because it is a process that can be applied to any organization in any trade.
Governments and local authorities place a lot of weight on the ISO 14001 accreditation and this is possibly why more and more companies are undergoing the process. Obtaining this certification offers them a greater chance of being awarded tenders by these authorities.
The primary aim of the certification or standard, is to help companies become environmentally friendly. The issues of environmental welfare will always be present. ISO 14001 provides a structured and defined way of dealing with these issues. ISO 14001 requires the active and proactive role to be taken by management and employees alike.
The main elements that need to be addressed:
- Managing processes and procedures
- Identifying environmental aspects which are within the control of the organization and the impact derived from these aspects
A company is basically, in layman?s terms, expected to define what it does to alleviate environmental impact, and they are required to do as they have stipulated.
Putting the processes in place is the hard part of the entire procedure. Once the systems are in place, it is easier to access where improvements need to made and how to make them.
Proper implementation of the processes and standards will make your organization more efficient. Greater efficiency and ease will ensure that your workforce does not feel as pressured to perform and can concentrate of quality of work. A happier, more relaxed workforce is one that is motivated and committed.
Commitment to your organization and your business from an outsiders perspective is also given a positive boost. Showing people that your company cares about the environment and have made a commitment to affect the environment in a less harmful way, can only build confidence and trust in your organization.
The initial outlay for the process is costly, but if you take into account the savings made on energy consumption, raw material use, and even reduction in waste, the process will pay for itself within a short period of time and your company will reap the rewards on a monetary level as well.
Those who have obtained ISO 14001 certification often receive reduced premium rates from their insurers. The system ensures that you meet the requirements set out through legislation and you become less of a risk to insurance companies.
A huge part of this kind of environmental management system is the commitment to continually improve and develop processes and results. In doing so your company minimizes impact on the environment, but you also become more efficient and the cost savings felt grow with each change.
It is always best practice to obtain the certification through a Certification body. This is proof that you have a third party evaluation of your processes and systems and they agree that you meet all requirements of the standard. Potential and current customers have peace of mind and assurance of your commitment to environmental issues.
The process of certification is not firm and steadfast. It is dependent on the size of the organization and the number of new policies and processes that must be implemented. In any event, the certification process is not one that is a quick-fix. To ensure smooth transition and implementation, your company should appoint a designated co-coordinator who takes responsibility for the process. Expect the process to last anywhere between three and six months from the initial meeting and evaluation, to the certification of your company.
The initial audit will be carried out by a lead auditor. They will evaluate your current policies, processes and procedures and provide you with a detailed report of where your current systems need to change in order to meet with requirements. Your company will be given opportunity to make changes to existing systems as per the report and once you are ready, the second audit will be carried out. This measures the efficiency of processes and procedures within your environmental management system and whether it meets with the requirements of the standard. If your company fits the bill, the auditor will recommend your company for certification. The auditor?s reports will be reviewed and if all is found to be in order, you will be awarded certification.
Your company will have to undergo surveillance audits yearly to ensure that you are still meeting all the requirements of the standard. A detailed, written report will be provided on completion and will outline whether there are any shortcoming that need to be addressed. Your company will have a certain time period in which to rectify the issues. Every three years, your company will undergo a full re-audit which will outline the strengths and weaknesses of your systems and they will assist you in identifying areas that need improvement.
The company itself has to undertake the improvements themselves, they cannot be implemented by the certification body. The aim of the certification body is to offer assistance to companies and help them to reap maximum benefits from their certification. The certification body is objective in approach.
Yes, the process seems a daunting one, but the benefits offered are fantastic. Select your Certification body with care. They hold your future in their hands. You want someone who is going to work with you on improving as opposed to just calling the shots.? Certification of the ISO 14001 standard is imperative to any company in this modern age. Everybody, who is anybody, is conscious of environmental decline and the impact organizations and industry have on it. Those who are shown to take initiative in improving the situation are favored. They are seen as responsible, answerable, and aware.
Make the decision today to obtain certification and reap the benefits.