ISO 14001 is the standard used as a framework for configuration and maintenance of an environmental management system that meets specific requirements. ISO 14001 Certification is beneficial for the following reasons:
- Proof of the organisation’s compliance with the requirements of ISO 14001.
- Shows clients and business partners that the organisation is committed to responsible environmental practices.
- Shows commitment to reduce environmental impact and to ensure sustainability of practices.
- It provides the organization with a competitive advantage over companies that do not have ISO 14001 certification.
Compliance with the standard has many key benefits. It helps the organization to use resources efficiently and reduce the impact on the environment by reducing waste and responsible use of resources. Improving environmental performance leads to a higher level of public trust. An environmental management system that compliance with the requirements of ISO 14001 makes it possible for the organisation to identify, monitor, control, and manage issues related to the environment in a sustainable way.
More emphasis is placed on the involvement of top management, proper leadership, and inclusion of environmental management policies in the organisation’s strategic focus. Compliant companies commit to ongoing improvement of their environmental management including, for instance, the implementation of recycling processes. Compliant enterprises benefit from improved financial performance, reduced costs, increase in employee motivation, better standing in their communities, and reduced impact on the environment.
A systematic approach is followed regarding environmental performance. This ensures a well-documented audit trail regarding the organisation’s processes. The Plan-Do-Check-Act approach is followed, which ensures continues environmental performance improvements.
The objectives, targets, and plans must be well documented and responsibilities must be clearly assigned. ISO 14001 awareness training, in addition to training in the relevant legislation, setting up of the ISO 14001 environmental management system, internal audit training, and risk management relevant to the environment should be priorities.
Measurement must be done against the environmental impacts that the organisation identified. Performance must be well documented. There must be procedures in place for evaluation and correction of non-conformities. The records must be stored correctly, and be retrievable and be accessible. Regular ISO 14001 internal audits are necessary to help keep the organisation on track, even after certification has been done. Implementation of such an environmental management system can only be successful if the top management stays committed to the process, if the implementation and requirements are communicated, if employees are trained adequately, and if proper record-keeping practices stay in place.