ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems

April 1st, 2011

Customers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious and informed, so it is imperative that organisations demonstrate their commitment to the environment. ISO 14001 is part of an internationally recognised series of environmental management standards, published in 1996 to establish a set of requirements for environmental management.
The certification is designed for organisations wishing to implement, maintain and improve environmental management systems (EMS), demonstrate conformance with it’s own environmental policy and ensure compliance with external environmental laws and regulations.

Initial Implementation
The development of ISO14001 was triggered by the 1992 Rio Summit on the environment, which sought to create a certification by which companies could quickly and easily develop environmental management plans.

Commitment to EMS
After implementation, the system will continue to monitor and manage an organisation’s impacts on the environment by offering structured planning and documentation measure. A strong commitment to assessment of environmental impacts, targets to reduce the impacts and plans on how to achieve targets is recommended by the Department of Sustainability, Sustainable Land Management, Water, Population and Communities, within the Australian government, to ensure the EMS reaches full potential.

Advantages
Correctly implementing and committing to the EMS ISO14001 will lead to a number of benefits for your business, including minimisation of environmental liabilities, efficient use of resources, waste reduction, and ultimately increases in profit margin as a result. ISO 14001 is also effective for creating a good corporate image, which inevitably leads to good publicity and more custom. This image is built upon fundamental changes within the organisation, including a better environmental awareness and understanding of overall environmental impacts of business activities among employees and staff.
ISO 14001 is the best defence against legal issues that may arise due to the activities of your business, so implementation could save face and funds should matters be pursued in the court of law.

Custom Design
An EMS is not prescriptive, and is essentially a voluntary initiative, so organisations are able to take control of examining their practices and deciding how impacts would best be managed. The approach is one of custom designing creative and relevant solutions for the organisation, rather than having uniform standards applied across the board.
EMS is a way of the government encouraging businesses to meet environmental standards by way of providing incentives for strong environmental performance rather than enforcing laws. However, EMS also allows organisations to keep ahead of more stringent regulations, which may be introduced in the future, and keep within current regulatory requirements.
Overall, the legal and monetary benefits gained through adopting ISO14001 will far outweigh any initial investment of time and money into the operation. Customers are choosing the environmentally friendly option more frequently, and in a wider range of industries, so managing environmental impacts of your business is paramount to meeting consumer demand.