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ISO 14001

The Environmental Management Systems (EMS)

What is ISO 14001?

With increasing public awareness of the need to protect the environment, governments and businesses are under increasing pressure to minimize their environmental impact and promote sustainable development. The Environmental Management Systems (EMS) standard was created to help organizations identify, manage, and control those activities that have environmental impacts. ISO 14001 is an international standard for the design and implementation of an environmental management system (EMS). ISO 14001 requirements provide a framework and guidelines for establishing an environmental management system. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines an environmental management system as “the part of a management system used to manage ecological aspects, fulfill compliance obligations, and address risks and opportunities”. The ISO 14001 standard framework can be used in a plan, do, check, act (PDCA) approach to continuous improvement.

What organizations implement ISO 14001?

ISO 14001:2015 should be used by any organization wishing to establish, improve or maintain an environmental management system to comply with established environmental policies and requirements. Standard requirements can be incorporated into any environmental management system. The way it is deployed is determined by several factors, including the organization’s industry, environmental policy, products and services offered, and location.

Every organization, whether in the field of production, services, or trade, has an impact on the environment and therefore can benefit from ISO 14001. In more than 150 countries around the world, industrial companies, service organizations, utilities, and public institutions have adopted the ISO 14001 standard as their preferred model for environmental management. They range from giant multinational corporations to the non-profit sector, from national governments to small family businesses.

ISO 14001 helps businesses of all sizes in all sectors to make their day-to-day operations more sustainable. Sustainability can ultimately save costs, improve brand reputation, engage employees, and build resilience to uncertainty as well as the ability to quickly adapt to change.

ISO 14001:2015 is relevant to all organizations, regardless of size, location, sector, or industry. ISO 14001 is witnessing an increasing number of global certifications, which shows the growth and importance of establishing an environmental management system.

The role of ISO 14001 in achieving EMS goals

ISO 14001 recognizes that there is no single way to deal with environmental challenges. Its deployment is different in every organization. The standard is flexible and does not seek to dictate the details of your environmental policy. ISO 14001 sets out broad principles that can help you:

Establish effective environmental performance as a strategic objective

Continuous improvement of environmental performance

Analyzing, planning, controlling, and monitoring all activities that may have environmental effects

Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements

The role of ISO 14001 in reducing environmental impacts is played as follows.

Through a combination of analysis and action, most organizations can change the way they interact with the environment. For example,

· Waste reduction

· Reduce energy consumption

· Use of renewable resources

· Avoiding danger and preventing contamination

· Full product life cycle design

By moving to a cleaner and greener way of working, an organization can become a model of effective citizenship and strengthen its public image in the process.

This in turn can lead to:

· Strengthening the trust of stakeholders

· More competitive advantage

· Long-lasting

ISO 14001 is designed to be compatible with other management standards, including ISO 9001 quality management, OHSAS 18001 health and safety management, and ISO 50001:2011 energy management.

Benefits of ISO 14001 certification

Businesses are facing demands from customers, regulators, and governments to reduce their environmental impact. Obtaining ISO 14001 certification is the clearest way to demonstrate your organization’s commitment to this goal.

legal obligation

Understand how legal and regulatory requirements affect your organization and its customers. Ensure that your organization understands and complies with environmental laws and adheres to legal obligations.

stand out the competition

Using a strong environmental management system to streamline processes will help your company stand out from the competition, which can lead to increased sales.

save money

In addition, the installation of this system will help you save money by reducing waste, energy, and water consumption.

Use evidence-based decision-making

By ensuring that accurate data is used to make decisions about improving environmental management, you can increase the chances of your activities being successful the first time. Instead of failing multiple times, this is better. Use this data to track your progress, and fix system bugs before they go off the rails, which can save money and time, increase productivity, and reduce environmental impact. Bring a long product life cycle.

Reduce operating costs

One of the improvements that all companies are looking for is cost reduction. EMS can help with this by saving resources, waste, and energy management costs. Achieving efficiency in energy and water consumption through minimizing waste means cost savings.

Also, with the establishment of environmental controls, the probability of an unfortunate accident is reduced. As a result of insurance premium payments, the damage caused at the time of the accident is compensated, and the cost of the accident is significantly reduced.

Improving relationships with stakeholders and creating a culture of continuous improvement.

Improve your image and credibility

If you want to expand your business into additional territories, certification is the most effective way to demonstrate your credibility to potential customers. The result will be more business opportunities and new customers.

By assuring customers that you are committed to managing your environmental impact, you can increase your image and market share. This is done by maintaining a positive public image and improving community relations, thereby improving your company’s image and credibility. Followed by increasing the trust of stakeholders and customers

Engage your people

Given the choice between working for a company that cares about its environment and one that doesn’t, most people would prefer the former. By engaging your employees in a group effort to reduce their environmental impact, you can increase employee engagement and retention.

Create a culture of continuous improvement

With continuous improvement, you can move towards better processes and systematically reduce environmental impact to improve your public image and potentially reduce your costs, as mentioned above. When a culture of improvement is created, employees look for ways to improve their processes, which makes it easier to maintain the EMS.

What is environmental management?

Managing your organization’s impact on the environment should be a key priority for your business, regardless of the industry you’re in. An environmental management system provides a framework for making policy and process changes that help you improve environmental performance. In addition to being better for the environment, ISO 14001 certification can give you more control over costs and other tangible benefits.

An environmental management system, often called an EMS, consists of policies, processes, programs, practices, and records that set the rules governing how your company interacts with the environment. This system must be tailored to your specific company, as only your company has the exact legal requirements and environmental interactions that match your specific business processes. However, the requirements of ISO 14001 provide the framework and guidelines for creating your environmental management system. This will ensure that you do not miss the critical elements required for a successful EMS.

What are the requirements for ISO 14001?

The ISO 14001 standard uses a structure of ten clauses, called Annex SL, which are roughly grouped and cover four key areas:

Environmental Impacts – The processes your business must follow to implement a successful environmental management system and reduce its environmental impact.

Management Responsibilities – Areas that your management team should focus on, be involved in, and be accountable for.

Resource management – ​​how resources such as people, infrastructure, and facilities are allocated to ensure the highest possible performance.

Measure, analyze and improve – the final clauses in the ISO 14001 standard cover how your management system is performing to your expectations. They facilitate continuous improvement of your system.

ISO 14001 structure

The structure of ISO 14001 is divided into ten parts. The first three items are preliminary and the last seven items contain the requirements of the environmental management system. The seven main sections are about:

Section 4:

the requirements for understanding your organization in order to implement an EMS are outlined. This includes requirements for identifying internal and external issues, identifying stakeholders and their expectations, defining the scope of the EMS, and identifying the processes required for the EMS.

Section 5: Leadership

 Leadership requirements cover the need for senior management to play an effective role in EMS implementation. Senior management must demonstrate commitment to EMS by ensuring environmental commitment, defining, and communicating environmental policy, and assigning roles and responsibilities throughout the organization.

Section 6: Planning

Top management must also plan for the ongoing performance of the EMS. EMS risks and opportunities in the organization must be assessed and environmental goals for improvement identified and planned to achieve these goals. In addition, the organization must evaluate all methods of interaction and the impact of organizational processes on the environment. In addition, the organization must evaluate legal obligations and other obligations required by the organization.

Section 7: Support

The support section deals with the management of all resources for the EMS and includes requirements for competence, awareness, communication, and control of documented information (documents and records required for your processes).

Section 8: Operations

 Operations requirements address all aspects of the environmental controls required by organizational processes as well as the need to identify potential emergencies and plan responses to be ready to respond should an emergency occur.

Section 9: Performance Evaluation

 This section contains the requirements to ensure that you can effectively monitor the performance of your EMS. This includes monitoring and measuring your processes, environmental compliance assessments, internal audits, and ongoing review of EMS management.

Section 10: Improvement 

​​This final section contains requirements for improving your EMS over time. Process non-conformance must be assessed and corrective actions must be taken.

These sections are based on a Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle that uses these elements to implement changes in the organization’s processes to drive and sustain improvements in the processes.

ISO 14001 provides a clear management framework to reduce your environmental impact, ensure compliance with legal requirements and build stakeholder trust. This standard provides your organization with a systematic approach to planning, implementing, and managing an environmental management system.