While it seems as if environmental protection has only hit the headlines in recent years, it certainly isn't new. In fact, the world's best known environmental management system - ISO 14001 - was first launched in 1996.
Issued by the International Standardization Organization (ISO), the system's roots were formed even earlier, at a United Nations conference on the human environment in 1972. Since its launch, there have been more than 300,000 certifications to ISO 14001 in 171 countries around the world.
Updated in 2015, the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System sets out a clear framework in which organisations can work, minimising their impact on the environment, whilst also reducing their costs.
Sound Business Practice
Of course, ISO 14001:2015 is an environmental initiative, but it is also far more; it's a sound business management system that brings increased savings and efficiencies, reduced dependency on resources, and greater trust from customers and other stakeholders.
A key part of ISO 14001:2015 is Environmental Management Systems training, a specialised field that should only be provided by experienced professionals, such as Standard Consulting in Brisbane.
It's worth pointing out that, at this point, implementing ISO 14001 Environmental Management System is not compulsory, but it certainly is advisable. The fact that it is voluntary only means more kudos for those organisations who pursue it.
Sends Strong Message
Implementing ISO 14001 Environmental Management System sends a strong message to your customers, staff, suppliers, contractors - and your competitors. It shows that you are aware of your organisation's potential impact on the environment and that you have taken action to minimise the risk.
More so now than ever before, it's not just your customers who question your environmental credentials. If you hope to do business with other organisations, or government bodies, ISO 14001 Environmental Management System certification will almost certainly be a requirement.
Additionally, of course, it also helps you comply with legislative requirements, thus reducing the risk of falling foul of the law.
The principles and methodology of the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System are based on the PDCA Cycle - Plan-Do-Check-Act. And that begins with planning the Environmental Management System itself. There is no off-the-shelf solution, as the system must be tailor-made to suit your industry, product, goals and methodology.
From an ISO point of view, you could say the most important elements of the PDCA Cycle are 'check' and 'act'. ISO 14001 Environmental Management System is designed to be fluid, evolving with the organisation, and changing to maintain compliance and success. By auditing the system internally, procedures can easily be checked and acted upon.
The 2015 revision of ISO 14001 Environmental Management System requires a business to consider all environmental issues relevant to its operations, including air pollution, water and sewage, waste management, soil contamination, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and resource use and efficiency.