ISO 14001 Certification: Environmental Management System

What is ISO 14001 Certification EMS Environmental Management Systems?

ISO 14001 Certification – make a step towards sustainable Environmental with Environment Management System

  • ISO 14001, also known as (EMS) Environmental Management System. It establishes the standards and framework for an effective environmental management system. ISO 14001 Environmental Management System integrates environment management practices with ISO 14001 standards. It is a generic standard and applies to most industries regardless of their size, nature, and geographical location.
  • It is an internationally accredited standard that enables to enhance environmental performance through using resources efficiently and reducing wastage. The environmental management system mainly focuses on the resources and meeting the commitments documented in the organisation’s policies.
  • This standard is globally accredited, and its implementation helps organisations to add credibility by demonstrating their commitment to environmental protection. It helps in increasing the trust of the customers and stakeholders and promotes sustainable development. It includes reducing the negative environmental impacts of products, services and activities.

Why is Environment Management System - ISO 14001 Important?

  • It exhibits the organisation’s commitment to protecting the environment.
  • It can provide the organisation with a competitive edge in procuring green tenders.
  • Companies achieving ISO 14001 Certification demonstrate that their organisation encourages sustainable development.
  • It aims to minimise wastage and use resources efficiently.
  • It addresses social, economic and environmental aspects.
  • It helps organisations in reducing costs as it follows detect and prevent approach.
  • It creates a better impression of the organisation amongst the customers and businesses.

Evolution of ISO 14001 Certification

  • ISO 14001 was developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation. It was first released in 1996 and then updated in 2004. The latest version of ISO 14001, also known as ISO 14001:2015, was released in September 2015.
  • ISO 14001:2015 has significantly changed the provisions and requirements of ISO 14001. A continual improvement survey is conducted to understand the needs of the current, past and potential users.
  • It focuses more on standards and facilitates integration with other ISO standards and provides a competitive advantage and helps to gain the trust of the entities.

What is the Purpose of ISO 14001

It defines the requirements of the organisation and guides the implementation of an effective environmental management system. This Certification offers to improve the organisation’s environmental performance.

The key elements of ISO 14001 Certification

An effective Environment management system clearly defines the policies and procedures. There are six core elements in an Environment Management System, it includes:

  1. Environmental policy
  2. Planning
  3. Implementation
  4. Checking and corrective action
  5. Management review
  6. Continuous improvement

PDCA Cycle

  • Plan – to think that what do we need to achieve in our organization
  • Do – to execute a planned action which will help us achieve the required objective
  • Check – monitor against the standards) (policies, objectives, requirements)
  • Action – finally implementing what has been rechecked.

Legal requirements of ISO 14001 Certification

ISO 14001 Environmental Management System designs the critical requirements to enforce an effective Environmental Management System. ISO 14001 is not a technical standard and does not replace any legal regulations.

These requirements are divided into ten different sections (Section 1 to Section 10) and work on Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) approach.

It is necessary to understand all the sections.

  • Section 1 to Section 6 is in the Plan stage
  • Section 7 and Section 8 are in the Do stage.
  • Section 9 is in the Check stage.
  • Section 10 is in the Act stage.

Section 1: Scope

It marks the Scope of the Environmental management system. It should meet the organisation’s environmental policies and strives to improve the industry’s environmental performance.

Section 2: Normative references

In ISO 14001, there is no normative clause.

Section 3: Terms and Definitions

This clause explains all the terms and definitions related to these four categories:

  • Organisation and leadership
  • Planning
  • Support and Operation
  • Performance evaluation and Improvement

Section 4: Context of the organisation

It deals with identifying all the factors that affect the industry and understanding the requirements of the business. These aspects broadly depend on the size and nature of the organisation. This clause aims to find internal and external factors that affect the industry and enforce best practices for an effective environmental management system.

Section 5: Leadership

It deals with allocating the roles and responsibilities within the organisation for an adequate environmental management system. It illustrates the importance of top-level management in executing and improving EMS.

Section 6: Planning

It focuses on examining any risk and opportunity that can impact the industry and formulates strategies to mitigate the risk and reap opportunities. It also analyses the industry’s interaction with the environment and compliance with legal obligations to establish an effective Environmental management system.

Section 7: Support

It addresses the needs and requirements of the management for an effective Environmental system. It promotes the flow of information, documentation and policies to ensure all the employees are well aware of the organisation’s objectives.

Section 8: Operation

This Section is related to Section 6 (Planning), which states that the organisation should evaluate all the activities hindering the organisation’s manufacturing and services. The organisation must formulate policies to meet the operational requirement for environmental control and deal with a potential emergency.

Section 9: Performance evaluation

It is crucial to ensure that the organisation’s environmental management system is adequate and efficient. It involves monitoring and measuring the organisation’s current practices and identifying the areas for advancement.

Section 10: improvement

It ensures the effectiveness of the environmental management system and commits to enhancing required process areas to establish an environmental management system.

Implementation of ISO 14001 Certification

It is essential to implement the ISO 14001 standards effectively. It includes:

  • Establish effective communication to ensure the support and commitment of the management to improve its environmental performance.
  • The top-level management should assign roles and responsibilities within the organisation for an effective management system.
  • The organisation documents all the requirements and compares them with the existing system.
  • The organisation needs to take feedback from suppliers, customers and workers.
  • Establish an implementation team.
  • Implement the policy with the basic principle.
  • Provide training and incentives to encourage employee participation.
  • Opt for internal auditor training and conduct internal audits annually.
  • Frequently monitor and analyse the performance for continual business improvement.

Internal Auditor Training

  • Internal auditing of the Quality management system accesses the level of implementation and provides the tools for improvement.
  • ISO 14001 offers a lead auditor training program that aims to deliver the required expertise to conduct an Environment Management System (EMS) audit.
  • It describes the individual regarding the roles and responsibilities of the internal auditor.
  • It provides you with all the major auditing principles, techniques and procedures and makes you a valuable employee in your organisation.

Cost of ISO 14001 Certification

ISO 14001 Environment Management System can enhance your image in the market and provides you with a competitive edge in the industry. The cost of the ISO 14001 Environment Management System can vary from one organisation to another, and it depends on various factors.

These factors are:

  • Selection of ISO certification body, the Certification body an organisation chooses will examine the management and processes. They quote an amount for the certificate after collecting all the necessary information.
  • It also depends on the size of your organisation, the number of employees in the organisation, and the number of branches your organisation has.

Benefits of ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Certifications

The world is increasingly becoming aware of the health of the environment. ISO 14001 Standards has proved to be the most successful among all for implementation of an effective EMS. It has helped the organizations in fulfilling their environmental responsibilities while keeping their financial health intact. Nearly any business can benefit from achieving certification to ISO 14001 standards.

Here are the prime benefits of ISO 14001 standards:

  • It is a hallmark of quality and safety. It ensures that the products are safe and healthy to consume.
  • It is a globally recognised certification and applies to most industries irrespective of their size, nature and geographical location.
  • It follows the principle of clean and green progress as it gives equal importance to nature. It promotes sustainable development and also contributes to achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
  • It demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to the environment and shows the organisation is serious and responsible.
  • It improves the impression of the organisation amongst its customers and other businesses. ISO 14001 environment management system ensures the quality of the products and services and expands the organisation’s customer base.
  • It is a cost-effective standard as it reduces the cases of environmental incidents and protects the company from paying fines and compensations. It also promotes clean and green energy, which again saves the extra cost of production.
  • Getting ISO 14001 certified ensures that the organisation complies with all the legal regulations.
  • It demonstrates that the organisation is concerned about the environment and builds trust in the customers.
  • ISO environmental certification helps to provide a competitive advantage to the organisation as it displays that you have an active commitment to the environment.
  • It reduces the amount of waste generated by the industries as one of the requirements of ISO 14001 is that the organisation needs to demonstrate that it complies and works to achieve the environmental objectives.

ISO 14001 EMS Certification Requirements Checklist

The organisation should maintain and follow the procedures that are part of the organisation’s environmental objectives, legal requirements and regulations related to local, national and international laws.

Let’s have a look at all the requirements checklist for ISO 14001:

  • Suitable environment policy
  • Specifying environmental objectives targets and programs
  • Determining an organisation’s environmental aspects and impacts
  • Transmission of policies and objectives within the organisation and management.
  • Designation of stakeholders for environment management system
  • Provision of environmental adherence
  • Strategy to observe and estimate the progress
  • Environment management system performance audit
  • Ceaseless improvement

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ISO 14001 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Environmental Management System Certification

Answer: ISO 14001 Certification is an internationally recognized standard for establishing and implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS) in an organization. It enables the organization to perform its environmental assessment, identify risks, and execute the right actions to prevent or mitigate the effect of environmental challenges so as to secure the organization financially.

Answer: ISO 14001 Certification can be applied to all kinds of organizations regardless of their size, type or sector of operation. Organizations such as rolling mills, hospitals, steel plants, those dealing with medical devices, paper mills, and so on, can apply for ISO 14001 certification.

Answer: The main aim of ISO 14001:2015 is to focus on continual improvement of environmental performance and improving corporate image among regulators, customers and the other stakeholders, conserve energy consumption, managing waste material and lowering distribution costs.

Answer: Achieving ISO 14001 Certification is not a big deal in today’s upgraded systems. The basic steps to become ISO 14001 Certified are listed below: Firstly, you need to prepare all the relevant information of your company in a systematized way. Secondly, you need to document all the relevant information of your business. Thirdly, you have to implement all the documented information in your organization. Fourthly, get ready for the internal audits which are performed first during the certification process and then periodically after. Lastly, if the certifying body approves your management system then you will be awarded with the required ISO standard.

Answer : Any organization, regardless of shape, size or sector of operation, who wants to demonstrate their seriousness for environmental issues.

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