Achieving improved environmental performance through the ISO 14001 certification process – A Step By Step Practical Guide
Specification with guidance to demonstrate to the public a commitment to managing environmental impacts resulting from daily business activities
What is ISO 14001 Certification?
With increased environmental challenges in industry and society today, it is difficult to reduce environmental impacts from everyday activities. This challenge has encouraged industries to develop an Environmental Management System (EMS) and be certified to a standard to demonstrate their efforts for managing environmental impacts. Developed by the experts at the International Organization for Standardization, ISO 14001 prepares the ground for an efficient Environmental Management System (EMS). More than a million organizations globally have an ISO 14001 certificate that helps businesses of all sizes across all sectors make their daily operations more sustainable. Sustainability can eventually save money, enhance brand reputation, engage employees and build resilience against uncertainty.
Why is ISO 14001 Certification important?
This is mandatory for every business to demonstrate their commitment to reducing the impact on the environmental activities and achieve the associated stakeholder and financial benefits. ISO 14001 certification offers major benefits to organizations in any industry or sector such as
- Efficient documentation important to illustrate compliance with regulations.
- Demonstrates a commitment to governmental authorities and pursues continual improvement.
- Decreases reporting and monitoring requirements.
- Verifies the integrity of an organization’s claims.
- Deals with the requirement to compete in international markets.
- Explains the company’s environmental responsibility to shareholder groups.
- Reduces on-site audits by regulatory agencies.
Why should ISO 14001 Certification be Implement in an Organization?
An organization should take a strategic approach to improve its environmental performance because of various reasons. ISO 14001 certification helps an organization to:
- Illustrate compliance with current and future statutory and regulatory requirements
- Enhance leadership involvement and engagement of employees
- Boost company reputation and the confidence of stakeholders through strategic communication
- Achieve strategic business aims by implying environmental issues into business management
- Provide a financial and competitive advantage through improved efficiencies and reduced costs
- Boost supplier’s environmental performance by incorporating them into the organization’s business systems
What are the practical steps for ISO 14001 Certification?
ISO 14001 certification is a reliable, effective, and responsible environmental management system for business operations. The amount of human labor, time, and resources to create and implement a total EMS solution is excessively onerous for many businesses. Therefore, to provide the infrastructure to achieve ISO 14001, most EHS experts are trying to meet ISO 14001 standards relying on an environmental software platform. One of the most effective methods of achieving ISO 14001 certification and maintaining ISO status is the Environmental Software platform as it essentially provides a centralized digital platform for ISO documentation and a place to track environmental goals or KPIs that establish the right path for ISO 14001 certification.
There are a few steps to gain ISO 14001 certification for environmental management systems (EMS) such as,
Gap analysis helps to find out improvement areas that need more work before carrying out a formal evaluation that saves time and money.
- Formal evaluation: This step includes two phases. The initial phase involves a review of an organization’s preparedness for evaluation by checking if the necessary ISO 14001 procedures and controls have been implemented. After this, the details of findings will be shared to identify gaps. If all the requirements are in place, the evaluation of the implementation of the procedures and controls within your organization will be done to make sure that they are working effectively as required for the certification.
- Get the Certification: Once the formal evaluation is done, an organization will receive an ISO 14001 certificate, valid for three years. The client manager concerned will stay connected during this time for regular visits to ensure the system doesn’t only remain compliant but also continually improves.
ISO 14001 Certification with ComplianceQuest
ComplianceQuest’s QHSE (Quality, Safety and Environmental Management Software), an integrated cloud-based solution, meets ISO 14001 standards for environmental safety. ComplianceQuest also helps companies with reporting and capturing environmental audits and incidents to identify, analyze, monitor and mitigate existing and potential hazards and risks including assigning CAPAs and tracking them to completion. Environmental, safety, and hazard documentation are available for employees’ training, competency and certification and easily accessible. ComplianceQuest provides an organization a one-stop solution to meet their needs by initiating change requests, collaborating and reviewing requests.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of ISO 14001 Certification?
Implementation of ISO 14001 improves the environment and helps in understanding the difference between an easy and successful implementation and a difficult and ruinous one. Here are a few benefits of ISO 14001 Certification:
Enhance an organization’s image and credibility
In today’s tech-savvy world, consumers are more concerned about the environmental practices of the companies that produce the products they use. The most effective way to assure them would be if an organization is committed to handling their environmental impacts with an environmental management system to identify and control these impacts. This results in enhancing the brand image, maintaining a good public image, and improving community relations to improve the market share with these interested parties.
Comply with legal requirements
ISO 14001 standards provide an organization with a framework for detecting, monitoring and complying with several environmental requirements considering all appropriate laws before implementing an environmental management system. Besides, by implementing ISO 14001 standards people will come to know that the organization cares about the environment, and has a proven framework for identifying and complying with the legal, regulatory and contractual requirements, thus improving the brand image as well as credibility.
Reduced operating costs
in today’s world economy, every business wants to reduce costs. An environmental management system also can help an organization with controlling the operating cost by using a system to identify, control, and mitigate the number of environmental incidents that occur, which can cost a company through liability costs of penalty and reparations. Additionally, a company can use the environmental management system to help reduce costs by conserving the energy and input materials required by the company processes.
Higher rate of success when implementing changes
It is essential to ensure that an organization is working with good, accurate data, which is an important element of the ISO 14001 standard. Thus, an organization can track the improvement through proper data collection, and even if the initiative is lost, it will be easy to find out how to correct problems and recover faster. This can also save time and money.
Allow quicker improvement of processes
By integrating with ISO 14001 requirements, continuous improvement helps an organization move from small improvements toward larger enhancements to the organizational processes. Thus, an organization can better build the public image, reduce the costs, mitigate environmental impact, save time and resources. And the employees will be more engaged if they are involved in a culture that utilizes them to work toward common goals of improvement.
Cut down employee turnover
If employees are more involved in company improvements and if the company shows care and concern about the environment around them, then many employees would prefer to work for that company. Engaged employees in a company can reduce the company’s environmental footprint because of focus and retention, and it is easier and inexpensive to retain employees than to recruit and train new employees. So, the investment towards employees is worth more than the savings for the training and recruitment department.
Improved environmental management
Reducing the resource use and improving the overall efficiency of a business can keep the larger impact on business operations to an absolute minimum.
Enhanced stakeholder relationships
If an organization is trying to expand its business into different territories, ISO 14001 certification is an efficient way to illustrate to potential customers that they are taking proactive steps to be responsible.
Why is ISO 14001 Certification Needed?
The benefits of ISO 14001 Certification are numerous including:
- Improve image and market share
- Reduced cost control
- Maintain input materials, water and energy
- Enable permits and authorizations
- Enhance industry-government relations
- Better marketing advantage
- Compliance with international standards