ISO 14000 is a set of international standards designed to support companies in doing business in a sustainable manner, complying with environmental regulations, and continuously improving processes. The ISO 14000 standard contains ISO 14001:2015, which defines the requirements for an effective environmental management system (EMS).
Understanding EMS: An environmental management system (EMS) is a set of processes developed by companies to help achieve environmental goals in a cost-effective manner. EMS is also seen as a company’s framework created to meet regulatory standards.
As recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some of the important elements of an EMS are listed below:
• Overview of the organization's environmental objectives.
• Environmental impact analysis and legal requirements.
• Set environmental goals and targets to reduce environmental impact and comply with legal requirements.
• Programming to achieve these goals and objectives.
• Monitor and measure progress towards goal achievement.
• Ensure environmental awareness and employee competence; and
• Check EMS progress and make improvements.
The latest version of ISO 14000 is a revised version of ISO 14001 which was published in 2015. Under the ISO
14000 family, the ISO 14001 standard describes the EMS criteria for effectively managing the environmental impact of their business practices.
One of the main differences between the latest version of ISO 14000 and its predecessor is that ISO 14001:2015 includes additional top-level elements with a new layout, whereas ISO 14001:2004 has 6 structural factors.
The development of ISO 14000 in 1996 can be traced back to BS 7750 or the Environmental Management System Specification developed by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in 1992. Over time, certifications introduced by the Swiss-based International Organization for Standardization (ISO) have become more globally recognized.
As the most widely used EMS certification, ISO 14000 is often integrated into similar standards such as: quality management system (QMS) standard, ISO 9001.
ISO 14000 and ISO 9000 are related because both standards deal with the establishment, implementation, monitoring and improvement of processes, especially for organizations who are part of international trade. ISO 14001 aims on environmental management, while ISO 9001 focuses on quality assurance programs for corporate governance.
Why is that important?
ISO 14000 is crucial because it allows organizations to think beyond compliance based on regulation and take an aggressive approach to management of the environment. Businesses can make a huge difference by taking an active role in protecting the environment – which is perhaps the root of all the world's biggest problems.
When companies organize and standardize their operations with frameworks accredited globally, it not just initiates them in implementing practices that are sustainable for the environment protection, but also achieve environmental compliance easily.
EMS certification is completely voluntary but can demonstrate reliability and confirm an organization's commitment to environmental stewardship. Here are some of the key benefits of an ISO 14001:2015 certified EMS:
Improved company image and brand reputation
The main advantage of an ISO 14000 certified company is the demonstration of excellent environmental performance and social commitment. Inevitably, a reputation for minimizing negative environmental impacts can improve the company's image, enhance brand equity, and manifold customer loyalty.
More resource conservation and waste reduction
Control and management of waste, waste and emissions is a good indicator that the company is promoting protection of the environment by preventing all sources of pollution and contamination. With an efficient system, natural resources such as air and water, land and valuable minerals can be conserved.
Better compliance with legal and other requirements
A strategic approach to environmental management can proactively demonstrate compliance with current and future regulatory and regulatory requirements. In addition, through the use of an established health, safety and environmental management system (HSE), ISO 14000 certification
can improve health and safety outcomes and lower the risk of costly fines and litigation from violations and complaints.
Increased profitability, marketability, and sustainability:
Lastly, ISO 14001:2015 certification can also offer financial benefits, build better relationships with stakeholders, and expand into various markets. Rather than companies with a high risk of environmental impact, many companies with good environmental performance can only work with organizations that have a certified EMS framework.
ISO 14000 Certification Process:
A recent study stated more than 300,000 valid ISO 14000 certifications in nearly half a lakh location in 171 countries across the globe. With the largest growth across the ISO standard set, ISO 14000 certification is proving valuable in today's competitive global market.
How to get certified?
To understand the ISO 14001:2015 process can be quite exhausting. Here are the five main steps companies should follow through to get EMS certification:
Step #1: Prepare well and plan well
Any organization seeking ISO certification requires careful planning and preparation to make sure that effort, money, and time are maximized. Take the time to re-evaluate business processes and review and review all important data and documents.
Step 2: Check the ISO 14001:2015 standard
Management, including internal auditors, should have adequate resources to familiarize themselves with the entire ISO 14000 certification process. This is the section that also includes identifying legal requirements and defining the scope and procedures of the EMS.
Step #3: Communicate and inform
It is significantly crucial for all employees to know what goals the organization wants to achieve and what processes are needed to enhance the EMS. Next steps include training to understand ISO standards, develop a management system, monitor performance, and deal with non-conformities, among others.
Step #4: Perform an internal audit
The best way to assess whether an EMS is effective is through internal audit and self-assessment. Use the ISO 14001 digital internal audit checklist to document and track your process improvements.
Step #5: Get a certificate
Select a reputed external certification body to be involved in assessing the EMS process for compliance with ISO 14001:2015 requirements.
ISO 14000 and Your Organization:
Achieving an ISO 14000 certified EMS takes time and investment, but the business and environmental benefits can be significant. Vinsys ISO 14000 online training
goes hand in hand with companies looking to reduce their environmental impact. It helps address environmental stewardship in the workplace and how each employee can make a difference. This online training is suitable for all employees and helps train and motivate employees to engage in environmental protection.
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