ISO standards are internationally agreed standards developed by groups of experts from across the globe. The experts collaborate to create standards which are otherwise described as the ‘best way of doing something’, and they negotiate every aspect of the standard, including definitions, content and scope.
The ISO14000 ‘family’ of standards relate to environmental management, and are useful tools for companies who want to translate their passion for protecting the environment into practical, effective action. ISO14001 sits within this ‘family’ and sets out the requirements for an environmental management system. Essentially, it maps a framework for businesses to follow (and be certified to) which helps them identify and manage their environmental impact.
What is an environmental management system?
Every business interacts with the environment in one way or another – whether it’s through their carbon emissions released from transporting products, heating and powering their offices, the environmental impact of the products they make, or any other ways…It’s also likely that these interactions with the environment must be monitored through compliance obligations put in place by governing bodies or relevant industry standards – for example the Packaging Waste Regulations.
An environmental management system is put in place to act as a framework which helps businesses to periodically measure and assess their compliance to these obligations, whilst also developing their overall environmental strategy through regularly monitoring their processes and impacts. The idea is that the consistent evaluation of environmental performance will help identify opportunities for improvement.
Can I get certified?
The standard is designed for any type of organisation – inclusive of all activities and sectors. In fact, there are over 300,000 organisations with ISO14001 certifications, spanning over 170 countries globally. But you don’t have to become certified for ISO14001 to use the tools within it – if you wish, you can use the standard to guide your business’ environmental strategy without going through the certification process.
With that being said, getting certified from a third-party certification body is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability, and communicating your environmental values to your customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. Further to this, for some businesses, becoming certified (and the steps it takes to get certified) helps them demonstrate how they meet regulatory requirements, proving useful for their compliance submissions.
How can this help my business?
As discussed above, there are lots of reasons why obtaining ISO14001 certification, or more broadly, taking a strategic approach to improving environmental performance, can help your business. These include:
- Showing compliance with regulatory requirements
- Increasing leadership involvement with environmental performance
- Increasing employee awareness of environmental issues and responsibilities – facilitating a culture change
- Improving environmental performance
- Increasing stakeholder confidence in environmental strategy
- Improving company reputation and standing out against competitors
- Providing financial advantages through improving the efficiency of processes and reducing costs (i.e. energy savings)
- Encouraging greater environmental performance of suppliers by integrating them into the business systems.
How can Hazel 4D help?
As we’ve recently been through the process of becoming certified, we’re more than happy to talk to you about our experience. Feel free to contact us about our environmental management system, and how we’re measuring and controlling our environmental impact. Or if there’s anything else sustainability related you’d like to speak with us about, don’t hesitate to get in touch!