Environment ISO 14001
Effective environmental management minimizes your impacts on the environment, assists in meeting legal obligations and licensing conditions and leads to an improved environmental performance.
ISO 14001 Environmental Management System is the international standard for environmental management systems.
Leading companies around the world demonstrate their environmental performance by controlling the impacts of their activities and by their commitment to a certified environmental management system.
It is also widely accepted that stakeholder groups including customers, regulators, community groups and workers have a vested interest in the environmental impacts of companies they work for, trade with or share a community with.
So we are committed to the environment but why do we need Environmental Certification?
The main reason for Environmental Certification is because those stakeholders like your customers, regulators and governments want an external independent assessment that your environmental management system is effective and you are managing your environmental impacts.
Certification of your Environmental system is a powerful marketing tool. You have done the hard yards implementing the system so show people your commitment to the communities you work in and the broader environment.
That’s where Compass Assurance Services comes in. We get it. You want auditors with experience in your industry, who can add value to your system and help you with the complexities of managing an environmental management system, not just tick a box. Auditors who will raise significant issues if they are there but who won’t act like law enforcers. Auditors who understand how to manage significant impacts on soil, air, surface and ground water, flora and fauna; who understand pollution, waste management and cultural heritage.
Auditors who also understand the important role industry plays and the importance of working with you over time to continually improve your environmental performance.
ARE YOU READY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CERTIFICATION?
What is ISO14001 Environmental Management?
Humans are ingenious. We are problem solvers and ambitious for improving our way of life and standard of living. However, all of our activities have an impact on the environment, whether positively or negatively, directly or indirectly and to varying degrees. This holds for our personal activities and the activities of our businesses and industry.
Awareness of our environmental impact has been around for many, many years and waxes and wanes reflecting political imperatives. Similarly, awareness of the need to minimise our impacts has also been around for a long time, and many initiatives have been implemented to identify, manage and respond to those impacts.
One such initiative is ISO14001:2004 – the international standard for environmental management systems (EMS).
ISO14001 was developed as an internal management tool to help organisations minimise how their business processes and operations negatively impact on the environment, comply with applicable environmental laws, regulations, and other environmentally focused requirements, and continually improve their environmental performance. If certified by a third party, a certified ISO14001 compliant management system is a way of demonstrating a company’s environmental commitment.
Not entirely unlike a Quality Management System, an EMS is a structured approach for organisations to identify the environmental impacts of their activities, identify and monitor mitigating measures and review their environmental performance. It focuses on the processes of how the product is produced or service provided, rather then the product or service itself.
So, why would an organisation invest in developing and implementing an EMS?
The first, and probably most important benefit is that an EMS just might keep you out of gaol. In the event of an unforeseen environmental incident leading to a breach of an environmental law, your effectively functioning certified EMS may be a defence of due diligence under most jurisdictions in Australia.
An effectively implemented EMS, however, should not let you get to that position in the first place.
An EMS to ISO14001 requires the organisation to understand its legal and non-legal requirements, and to implement effective controls. Non-legal requirements can include codes of practice (some environmental authorities have developed industry and activity codes of practice). Certification of your EMS means that others (qualified third parties) have looked at your system and verified that it meets the requirements of the Standard.
One critical step in the ISO14000 process is for the organisation to understand the environmental impact of their activities. Called ‘Aspects and Impacts’ the organisation needs to fully understand what it does, where and what the potential environmental impacts are for normal and abnormal situations. As scary as that may seem, the good news is that the ISO14001 Standard only requires controls on impacts that have, through a formal process, legitimately been identified as ‘significant’. The benefits of this structured approach is that the organisation has confidence that they will not have any environmental surprises.
Another benefit, if your organisation is highly visible and under a high level of community scrutiny, is that an Environmental Management System to ISO14000 leads the organisation to understand what they should be communicating to whom, and assists in identifying the important issues, gathering the appropriate data and communicating relevant information to both the community and regulator.
Then there are the practical improvement and efficiency gains of a structured management system, such as:
- Reducing costs by reducing waste and associated disposal costs
- Reducing energy use and hence cost of running the business
- Increased competitiveness in the marketplace being able to differentiate from some of your competitors. Government departments are increasingly looking for certified management systems as a prerequisite for tenders.
- Reduced cost from minimising incidents and associated rectification costs;
- Improved corporate image among regulators, customers and the public;
- Capturing institutional knowledge by properly documenting, retaining and communicating environmental related information;
- The potential for surprises is minimised through a regular and systematic review of environmental performance;
- Reduced costs from savings operational efficiency and, if relevant, reduction in use of hazardous materials and generation of hazardous wastes;
- Effective and efficient communication about environmental issues inside and outside the organization; and
- Highlighting that environmental performance is an important part of the corporate culture and improved community perception.
A study of four case histories has shown significant economic benefits have accrued by having an effective environmental management system to ISO14001:
- One company avoided a $70,000 fine because it could demonstrate to the regulator (through it certified EMS) that their systems and processes ensured they had taken all necessary precautions, and their corrective action processes would minimise future occurrences;
- Another company reduced its recycling rate by more than 95%, reduced or replaced packaging, introduce lead-free soldering and eliminated halogen from one of its manufacturing process;
- A walk-through programme initiated under another company’s environmental management system identified ultimate savings of 40% on water treatment costs and has led to an energy monitoring system that has the potential to deliver a savings of over 10% on their substantial energy bill.
- The implementation of an environmental management system for another company identified a 61% saving of electricity during non-operational times and they now sell a waste that was previously sent to landfill.
In addition to the readily measurable benefits, intangible benefits from improved business efficiency accrue simply because there are clearly defined process and procedures and roles and responsibilities: employees know what to do when, by whom and how to do it properly.
If your company has an existing quality management system to ISO9001:2008 or a safety management system to AS/NZS 4801:2001, the logical extension to environmental management is easy. The similarity of ISO14001:2008 with the other Standards means that typical ‘system’ elements (such as document and records management, management review and internal audit) already implemented will meet the requirements of the environmental management system, thus providing further efficiency and operational dividends.
However, one of the biggest benefits of developing and effectively implementing an environmental management system is the benefit to the environment – through reduced pollution, improved efficiencies, reduced waste and improved overall awareness.
Top management buy-in and support is fundamental to implementing a Quality Management System…
Ensure you understand all of your internal and external requirements and have considered these in the development…
Implement the System
There is no golden rule to how to implement the system and every organisation’s requirements and circumstances will vary. But we have some key principles ….
Don’t wait until you believe your system is bullet proof or gold plated before engaging Compass Assurance Services to certify your system. …
Not all auditors and not all certification bodies are the same. We do things differently. We explain the process, we keep it simple, we only use the most skilled & experienced auditors who can communicate at all levels in your organisation and who will partner with you over the journey. Our auditors know their stuff but don’t pretend to know everything. We will share our experience and help you value add to your safety system at the same time as determining compliance.
We adapt based on your circumstances and objectives. We understand that organisations operating in high risk industries such as construction and mining require different outcomes from certification to an office based business that is just starting out on their safety journey.
We understand you want highly skilled safety auditors with experience in your industry, who understands your risks and hazards and your compliance issues.
Environmental Management system certification under ISO 14001 demonstrates that there is management commitment to reducing environmental harm and ensuring legal compliance. Certification will endorse your system giving key stakeholder’s confidence that your business is environmentally sustainable and will help you to continually improve your system and performance.
- Environmental Policy
- Implementation and Operation
- Management Review
- Sustainable management of business
- Recognition from key internal and external stakeholders
- Savings in costs related to energy and waste
- Framework to meet legal requirements
- Access to markets
Do you want to undertake your own gap analysis and understand just how ready your system is to be certified to ISO 14001? Our self-assessment checklist has been developed as a simplified summary of the requirements of ISO14001 Environmental Management System.
Have you got questions about the transition?
As we approach the change from the 2008 to the new 2015 standard for quality and environmental management system standards you will have questions about this change. Both ISO 9001:2008 Quality management systems and ISO 14001:2004 Environmental management systems have been updated to incorporate a wide range of changes for the new 2015 standard.
This helpful infographic gives answers to the most common questions about the changes, but if you need more details, contact Peter Henderson:
mobile: 0413 656 386
You can download a pdf version of the Transitions Questions image above as a PDF here.
What Are The Mandatory Documents You Will Need?
- Environmental Policy
- Documented scope of the system
- Objectives, targets and programs
- Resources roles and responsibilities
- Documented operational controls where required
- What Are The Mandatory Documents You Will Need?
Enhance the legitimacy of your sustainability reporting by having an independent and objective assessment to assure stakeholders that the information is accurate and free from bias.
Use tools such as the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Reporting Guidelines to benchmark your performance and categorise your reporting on economic, environmental and social performance.
License conditions present some organisations with substantive increased environmental compliance requirements. We can help you demonstrate to external stakeholders that you have implemented effective controls to meet your regulatory or license conditions through a robust audit program.