In today’s world, the focus on improving the environment is becoming a hot topic. As we know, our environment is being polluted by industrial, agricultural and commercial waste that causes damage to soil fertility and also contamination to human health. As a result, people are trying to reduce waste and prevent pollution to make the Earth a livable planet for years to come.
Additionally, organizations are trying to reduce their impact on the environment and come up with better, more environmentally responsible ways to conduct their business. These organizations strive for continuous improvement of their environmental performance by using an environmental management system (EMS).
The need for environmental safeguarding is now widely accepted all around the globe and it can be seen from the widespread implementation of different types of environmental management systems like ISO 14001, which is an international standard for improving the environment. This blog will provide you with more details on ISO 14001 and how it can be implemented within organizations to create a greener planet.
What Does ISO 14001 Mean?
The ISO 14001 standard is an internationally recognized environmental management system standard. The standard helps businesses and organizations identify and manage environmental risks, and improve their environmental performance. ISO 14001 was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as a way to help organizations implement environmental management systems (EMS).
Focusing on organizational procedures, the ISO 14001 standard is meant to prevent pollution and reduce waste at its source. Organizations can use it as an environmental policy or quality management system – depending on the organization’s strategy and priorities. The standard provides requirements for:
- Environmental performance evaluation
- Environmental management system documentation
- Internal auditing
- Corrective and preventive action
What is the Current ISO 14001 Standard?
The current ISO 14001 standard is ISO 14001:2015. ISO 14001:2015 was released in September 2015, and replaces the earlier ISO 14001:2004 standard. The new standard includes updates to reflect changes in technology and environmental awareness since 2004. It also includes new clauses on risk management, communication, and continual improvement. ISO 14001:2015 is based on seven management principles that can help organizations improve environmental performance.
What are the Seven Management Principles of ISO 14001?
ISO 14001 is based on seven management principles that can help organizations improve environmental performance. The principles are:
4. Involvement of People
5. Process Approach
6. Continual Improvement
7. Fact-Based Decision-Making
What is the Purpose of ISO 14001?
ISO 14001 is a voluntary environmental management system standard that can help organizations prevent pollution, reduce waste, and improve their compliance with environmental regulations. It provides requirements for creating an environmental management system, evaluating performance, documenting results, auditing the system, and continually improving it.
What is ISO 14001 Certification?
Organizations that achieve ISO 14001 certification have demonstrated that they have implemented an effective environmental management system, and are compliant with the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard. Certified organizations are more likely to meet or exceed environmental regulations. Certification can increase an organization’s credibility with environmental regulators, customers, and suppliers.
ISO 14001 certification is usually achieved through a third-party audit by an accredited certification body (CB). The auditor reviews documentation and performs on-site inspections to verify that the organization is meeting the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard.
Certification is not required by law, and there are no specific benefits to certification that are guaranteed by the ISO 14001 standard. However, many organizations find that achieving certification helps them improve their environmental performance, save money, and increase their competitiveness.
What are the Benefits of ISO 14001?
The ISO 14001 standard helps organizations prevent pollution and reduce waste at its source. It can also help organizations:
- Improve environmental compliance
- Increase efficiency and reduce costs through continual improvement
- Meet environmental regulations
- Demonstrate a commitment to environmental performance
- Support business strategy, growth, and stakeholder engagement
- Develop and maintain a skilled workforce
- Improve image and public relations
- Increase credibility with customers, suppliers, and regulators
What are the ISO 14001 Requirements?
As with any environmental management system, an organization’s leadership must be dedicated to identifying and reducing environmental impacts, hazards, and risks. An organization should have a policy or practice of continuous improvement, monitoring its own performance against established objectives, and take appropriate corrective actions when necessary to reduce negative environmental impacts.
The minimum requirements of ISO 14001 are:
- An environmental policy, commitment, and objectives
- A description of the organization’s environmental performance
- Compliance with applicable environmental regulations
- Procedures to prevent pollution and reduce non-compliance risk
- Training for personnel who implement the system or have responsibilities under it
- Internal auditing of the system
- Management review of environmental performance
- Documentation of the system
How to Prepare an Organization for ISO 14001 Certification
In order to implement ISO 14001, an organization must define its environmental policy. This requires the participation of top management, who will commit to improve performance and establish key objectives. A clear scope is also required, specifying what parts of the business the EMS will cover. To complete the process of implementing ISO 14001, work groups may be needed to develop procedures and plans to meet the requirements of the standard.
The organization must then develop an environmental management system (EMS) that meets the requirements of ISO 14001. The EMS must include a description of how the organization will comply with relevant environmental laws and regulations, as well as its own environmental objectives.
Once the EMS is in place, an organization must evaluate its performance against the EMS and take corrective action when necessary. The evaluation should focus on both environmental performance and compliance with relevant laws and regulations, as well as adherence to the organization’s own objectives.
ISO 14001 Certification Process
The certification body will issue a ISO 14001 certification to an organization that has successfully implemented an environmental management system that meets the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard. Certification will be issued after conducting a series of audits
Stage 1 Audit – The auditor will conduct an EMS audit to confirm that the organization has processes in place that is consistent with ISO 14001. This includes employee interviews, site evaluations, and understanding the organization’s processes. Any deviations will be recorded and informed to the organization to be resolved before the second audit.
Stage 2 Audit – The final certification audit will be conducted to verify that the organization’s EMS continues to meet the requirements of ISO 14001. The auditor will review all system documentation and make sure any deviations found in the initial audit has been resolved.
If both audits are completed successfully, the certification body will grant an ISO 14001 certificate to the organization. The certification is valid for a three-year period, after which the organization must undergo another recertification audit to ensure continued compliance.
Certified organizations are subject to surveillance audits throughout the three-year certification period. If an organization fails to comply with ISO 14001 requirements, it can be suspended or delisted from the registry of certified organizations.
How Much Does ISO 14001 Certification Cost?
The cost of ISO 14001 certification varies depending on the size and complexity of the organization, and the level of auditing and consulting services required. Generally, a certification body will evaluate the following to determine the exact cost of ISO 14001 certification:
- Number of employees
- Number of locations to be certified
- Scope of organizational activities
- Risks associated with these activities
For more information on the cost of ISO 14001 Certification, please contact IAS for a free consultation.