Making that decision to implement and environmental management system is by no means a small and insignificant decision. It is a decision that bares tremendous weight and a work load that will have you bent at the back. The decision is however one that is worthwhile undertaking, and one your company can be proud they undertook.
The international standard for the ISO 14001 certification follows the PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT path.
- Plan – this is the phase where you, as a company, establish your objectives and recognize the processes that will be required in order to successfully achieve results in line with the organization?s environmental policy.
- Do – this is the phase where the work really begins, the phase where planning is put into action, and processes are put in place.
- Check – The implemented policies are measured and monitored against the requirements set out by the policy, policy objectives, legal requirements, and intended targets. Results are recorded and reported.
- Act – This is a call to continually maintain and improve the processes and performance of your environmental management system. Yes, you did the hard work and got everything in place, but your work has only just begun.
In order to make the right selection and to implement a system that is suited to your operation, there are certain guidelines that can be followed.
- Select a standard that is suited to your type of business. Find out all the required information to ensure that this is in fact right for your company.
- Develop your companies policy. The environmental policy for your company is an affirmation of your willingness to comply with the regulations and laws of the standard which your state demands. It will reflect your commitment to continually grow and develop and improve. The company makes a commitment to prevent the pollution of the environment during their production and operation.
- Develop and review your objectives. Your company has finalized their initial environmental plan. Now comes the actual assessment by the company on what areas of the business actually impact the environment. Targets and objectives need to be set for environmental improvement within your organization and a management program set in place to achieve those objectives and targets.
- You plan and process is now set in motion, you have your team on hand to handle the environmental affairs. It is always best that everyone involved from ground level right to the top floor, undertake official training with regards to ISO 14001 procedures and regulations,and any other areas that you made need assistance.
- Whichever company you select to obtain your certification through is your choice. They cannot implement the plan for you, but they can measure your company plan at any particular moment against that of the ISO 14001 certification requirements. Once results are obtained, an audit team will produce a documented report on any areas where your company?s plan may have shortcomings. In this way the company has a better understanding of the areas on which they need to work in order to achieve official certification.
- The assessment – this is a two stage assessment where stage one comprises an initial review of your companies policies, procedures, and plans and ensure that they meet with the minimum requirements. Stage two is the actual assessment and audit of how effective the system is. The auditor will delve into your management system and ensure that best practice environmental management is being undertaken by the organization, and carried out.
- On successful completion of the final audit, your company will be awarded the ISO 14001 certification which will highlight the scope of your management system. The certification is valid for three years. Your system will be regularly, usually annually, assessed by the auditor to ensure that processes are still in place and being used effectively.
The implementation of ISO 14001 environmental management systems is for the greater good of the environment, but it is also in place for the good of company owners. These businesses need to realize their impact on the environment and that a path like the one they were leading, will only result in depletion of natural resources that have not been rehabilitated for further use at a later stage. These businesses will be out of work if that were to happen and it would be through their own doing alone.
Business and operations are in place for the good of the people, to provide jobs, a source of income, commodities, products, and in some instances even essential items. It must however be remembered that providing these things means nothing if the company itself is destroying the Earth on which those same people live, and polluting the air to such an extent that it is to the detriment of their families.
Many large companies have shown initiative and undertaken the process to certification. This goes a long way in proving to the people and the world, that they are not only thinking of the bottom line figure, but also the well-being of the planet and all it?s occupants.
If the planet is not protected and the ice caps continue to melt at a rapid rate, all those years of hard work will have been for nothing. The houses they worked to hard to obtain and maintain, their cars, possession, their company, their families are all at risk of being swept away into the deep blue sea. The time is now to make the change. The damage already done may not be reversible, but undertaking vigilant and determined processes to prevent further damage will go far in keeping the band aid tightly strapped across the gaping wound on Earth.
ISO 14001 strives to ensure the safety of our planet, and it?s inhabitants, but it also has the interests of the company at heart. It offers cost saving plans that allow companies to utilize every resource they have available to them instead of casting it aside as they did in previous years.
ISO 14001 is the way to go if you are serious about the integrity of your business, and really serious about preserving our beautiful planet for future generations.