The Complete Beginners Guide to ISO Requirements

What is ISO 14001?

Designed by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) was created to help businesses and organisations reduce their impact on the environment. ISO 14001 is a tool that is used to help proactively manage the impact of a company’s activities before they become an issue as opposed to afterwards.

ISO 14001 is the most widely used EMS in the world and has currently over 14,000 certified organisations in the UK and over 250,000 certificates issued globally.

Not only is the ISO 14001 a very powerful businesses tool that can help organisations improve their environmental performance and reduce impacts but it also enhances business efficiency and ensures legal compliance.

Why Implement ISO 14001?

Any organisation, in any sector and of any size can benefit from implementing the ISO 14001 framework and apply for certification of their environmental management plan.

Certification of an EMS is completely voluntary but can help establish credibility and strengthen an organisation’s commitment to their environmental responsibilities.

Specialist ISO 14001 consultants support businesses by helping them to determine which operations have a negative impact on the environment. From there they can work with the EMS to reduce and minimise any unwanted effects and tackle things such as reducing waste, improving resource efficiency and cutting waste management costs where necessary.

ISO 14001 helps organisations make their day to day operations more sustainable and this leads to saving money, engaging with employees, improving brand reputation and gives them the ability to swiftly adapt to change.

The Benefits of ISO 14001 Certification

Some of the ways in which an organisation can benefit from ISO 14001 certification include;

  • Management – Greater control of risk and better planning
  • Cost effective – Reduces utility bills and waste streams
  • Awareness – Inspires mindfulness of the environment with employees
  • Legalities – Assured compliance with environmental legislation
  • Brand Representation – Improved corporate image amongst both customers and the public
  • Liability – Reduced in environmental exposure means that financial liabilities decrease
  • Profitability – Certification opens up opportunities to work with local authorities, government bodies and large commercial businesses who frequently favour suppliers that are ISO14001 registered.

How To Get Your Organisation ISO 14001 Certified

Understanding all of the ISO 14001 requirements and its process can be overwhelming so here are some key steps to achieving EMS certification:

  • Planning

Organisations that are looking to become ISO certified need to put in place structured planning and preparation efforts to ensure they take time to inspect and review all substantial data and documents.

  • Research

Be prepared by taking the time to properly familiarise yourself with the ISO 14001 certification procedure and take note of any legal requirements, procedures and constraints that may affect the process.

  • Inform

When beginning the process it is vital that all employees are aware of what ISO certification entails, the goals you are trying to achieve and what will be involved whilst working to improve the EMS. The next step is to make arrangements for relevant training so that staff can have an in depth understanding of the ISO standards as well as dealing with non-conformances etc.

  • Auditing

Internal audits and assessments are the quickest and most efficient way to ascertain whether the EMS is proficient. The use of checklists can be helpful to document and keep track of improvements to processes.

  • Get Certified

A reputable third party certification company can work with you to help ensure your EMS meets all ISO 14001 certification requirements. This can include helping to write, design, document, implement and operate the system which will be strategically planned to work around existing business practices and help to identify and resolve any areas that do not comply.

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