What is ISO 14001 – Everything you need to know!

1 June, 2022

What is ISO 14001?

All businesses interact with businesses in a certain way. The changing expectations of the buyers, requirements, and regulations have compelled businesses to manage the environmental impact actively. Certifications and standards can help companies achieve these targets. But what is ISO 14001 and why it keeps popping up every time there’s a talk about environmental legislation and compliance?

ISO 14001: 2015 is an environmental management standard that is universally accepted. The standards os derived from the International Organisation of Standardisation and species the factors and standards for the business systems relating to the environment. These standards apply to all the activities and actions in relation to environmental impact in a systematic method of following an environmental policy.

Regardless of the size and sector, any organization can use the standard, including private, public, and even non-governmental organizations. Also, the standard can be applied in a whole or part.

Certification to the standard helps provide parties with an efficient and effective environmental management system.

What is an environmental management system?

An environmental management system (EMS) is a plan of actionable ecological goals. The system helps the organization manage, plan and execute ecological issues systematically and sustainably. Executing the Environmental Management System includes continuous reviews, assessments, and improvements in environmental performance.

EMS of the organization is modified to relate to that particular company or organization. Even though the EMS is unique, it commonly focuses on global environmental issues such as air pollution, sea-level rise, loss of biodiversity, global warming, etc.

Not only that, but EMS also aims to achieve sustainable development goals by finding a good balance between the environment, society and the economy.

ISO 14001:2015 is a commonly used standard. It may be used in operations by organisations of any size, structure, or field. Commercial, non-profit, and public institutions are all included. There are already over 300,000 ISO 14001 certificates in over 180 nations.

Accreditation to ISO 14001 may help any business increase its sustainable development, eliminate adverse environmental impacts, and showcase its sustainability efforts. These organisations can use the standard in all activities that they have influence over or manage.

This guideline’s lack of specific ecological quality standards makes it considerably easier to manage across industries. Companies that adopt an EMS can use it to improve their sustainability practices, reduce their environmental consequences, avoid pollution, ensure compliance with legal requirements, change their workplace culture, use assets more effectively, and achieve sustainable messaging, among other things.

Advantages of ISO 14001 Certification

There are various advantages to developing an EMS and gaining ISO 14001 certification. Several commercial benefits may be acquired in addition to environmental benefits. ISO 14001 may be implemented in whole or in part by almost any organization to attain these benefits. These are some of the advantages:

The standard may assist a business in minimising pollutants connected with its operations, enhance continuous improvement, alleviate climate effects, or address other ecological problems based on the conditions and implications of the organisation.

  • The guideline can assist you in determining how regulations affect your company and what you must do to adhere.
  • The standard necessitates buy-in from top management, ensuring that overall corporate practices are achieved with the EMS. Staff involvement aids in the application of sustainable policies.
  • Customers will react favourably to ISO 14001 since it allows you to showcase your responsibility towards the environment. Boosting your sustainable development can persuade current consumers to remain with you and customer acquisition and stakeholders.

Sustainability initiatives, particularly those focusing on improving resource efficiency, can help your firm cut expenses and achieve a financial and competitive edge. Reduced usage of energy, water, commodities, and other supplies lowers costs and lowers environmental effects.

The impacts of a company’s customers are included in a complete picture of the company’s ecological consequences. Adopting ISO 14001 fosters collaboration with environmentally conscious suppliers and can aid in the detection of distribution network inefficiencies.

ISO 14001 accreditation might open up new doors and help you earn new business. Certification is required in some received standards. As a globally recognized standard, it may assist relevant stakeholders in having faith in your firm when it expands into new sectors, even if they don’t know much about it.

ISO 14001 complements several parts of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which seek to enhance well-being, prevent war, and combat climate change by addressing the world’s most urgent concerns. Goals 1 through 15 are aided by ISO 14001 certification.

What is ISO 14001 standard?

ISO 14001 is an international standard that outlines the requirements for an organization’s environmental management system (EMS). It is designed to help organizations manage their environmental responsibilities in a systematic and proactive manner.

The standard is based on a plan-do-check-act approach. It involves establishing an environmental policy, setting objectives and targets, implementing programs to achieve those objectives, and measuring and reviewing the effectiveness of the EMS on an ongoing basis.

The ISO 14001 standard specifies the requirements for an EMS. It includes:

  1. the development and implementation of policies and procedures,
  2. identification of environmental aspects and impacts,
  3. determination of legal and other requirements,
  4. the establishment of objectives and targets,
  5. implementation of programs to achieve those objectives, and
  6. measurement and review of the EMS.

To be certified to ISO 14001, an organization must develop and implement an EMS that meets all of the requirements of the standard, and must demonstrate that it is effectively managing its environmental impacts.

How does the standard work?

For your firm to get ISO 14001 certification, you must first establish an EMS based on the ISO 14001 standards and then hire a recognized document to review and validate your EMS as satisfying the ISO 14001 format’s objectives.

Beginning with governance mechanisms and determining the legal criteria for the EMS, you’ll need to create your sustainability practices, elements, and ecological goals and strategies, which together determine the entire scope and operation of the EMS. You’ll need to develop the obligatory and optional policies and procedures that your company’s activities require. Specific procedures must be covered, and others will be added as the firm sees fit.

Two of the most pressing concerns confronting businesses today are environmental protection and preventing our company from having harmful consequences on the environment. One of the most significant advantages of establishing an EMS is the reputation of being one of the few companies that care enough to lessen their ecological consequences. This may improve your company’s ties with consumers, the general public, and the general public, but it also has additional advantages.

In addition to a positive media persona, many businesses may save money by using a sustainability policy. This can be accomplished by lowering the number of accidents that result in liability expenses and obtaining insurance at a lower rate.

The ABCs of Sustainability Development

There is a growing need to adopt a new set of Sustainable Development Goals that aim to “Transform the World”. Change comes with collective effort, mutual understanding and knowledge toward specific goals.

Despite the UN and other international organisations making crucial decisions, the result is far from expected. It made me wonder what it is that we are falling short on? Is it the lack of interest or lack of awareness?

That’s when I had a eureka moment, and it suddenly started to make all sense. Many people don’t know the complicated terms and references that are used when we talk about sustainability. The idea inspired me to create a new series called “The ABCs of Sustainability Development”. I hope that this series of blogs is well received and serves its purpose.


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