The Answers to the Question – What is ISO 14001?

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ISO 14001 helps organisations to protect the environment, strengthen their brand and meet their legal obligations in a way that also benefits their business. If you’d like to know what is ISO 14001 then here we answer all of your questions in a way that is straight forward and easy to understand.

  • ISO 14001 Explained

ISO 14001 is the international standard for Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and was designed by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) to help companies reduce their environmental impact.

It can be applied to businesses of any size, scale and complexity across any sector and delivers the framework that organisations can follow to create an effective environmental management system.

ISO 14001 is a voluntary standard that organisations can certify to if they wish and can be easily integrated with other management system standards such as ISO 9001, to help accomplish their business goals.

  • What Does ISO 14001 Entail?

This will vary depending on the individual organisation and how they operate and often isn’t a huge overhaul of the business. For some it might not require much beyond documenting what you do and how you do it. For others, there may need to be changes made to meet the requirements of the standard.

The extent of which the standards requirements can be incorporated into an environmental management system is determined by several factors including the organisations;

  • Industry
  • Products and service offerings
  • Location
  • Environmental policy

  • Who Should Implement ISO 14001?

In the current climate, businesses are faced with an increasing pressure from employees, regulators, customers, and governments to reduce their environmental impact. Gaining certification to the standard is a clear way to show your commitment, help meet legal obligations and strengthen your environmental reputation.

ISO 14001 is suitable for all organisations, no matter their location, sector, size, type, or industry. It is ideal for those who wish to create, improve, or maintain an EMS to conform with their established environmental policies and requirements.

  • What are the Requirements of ISO 14001?

To prove that your EMS meets the required standard of ISO 14001 you need to maintain documented evidence. ISO 14001 uses a structure of 10 clauses called Annex SL, that sets out which of the mandatory and non-mandatory requirements you will need to document.

The ten clauses consist of;

Clause 1 – Scope

Clause 2 – Normative references

Clause 3 – Terms and definitions

Clause 4 – Context of the organisation

Clause 5 – Leadership

Clause 6 – Planning

Clause 7 – Support

Clause 8 – Operation

Clause 9 – Performance evaluation

Clause 10 – Improvement

These clauses breakdown into additional subclauses which can sound like a lot but not all of them are relevant to every business and in a lot of cases they are things that are already implemented withing your business but may just need documenting.

  • Benefits of ISO 14001

Using ISO 14001 and achieving certification can provide many benefits for organisations such as;

  • Better management of energy, waste, and resources
  • Increased efficiency across the business
  • Cost savings as a result of improved efficiency and reduced wastage
  • Allows you to easily quantify, monitor and control your operations ongoing environmental impact
  • Helps to gain a competitive advantage over other companies
  • Ensures compliance with environmental laws, regulations, and legislation
  • Helps you win new business
  • Increases customer and stakeholder trust
  • Access to tendering opportunities previously out of reach
  • Helps you to rapidly adapt to changes environmental legislation
  • Engages employees
  • Provides assurance that environmental impact is being managed
  • Improves corporate image and reputation

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