ISO 14001 – Is it really for you?

As a society we are more tuned into the dangers of environmental abuse and for many of us this impacts on our decisions when purchasing/using a product or service. Subsequently organisations are being put under increasing pressure to demonstrate that they are environmentally friendly. How can businesses show that they are mindful of the impact their business operations have on the quality of water we drink and the standard of air we breathe?

Enter ISO 14001:2004. The ISO 14001 standard provides a framework for a management system which will highlight an organisation’s commitment to environmental concerns. The framework does not dictate any regulatory requirements for environmental performance, but it does provide a structure for leadership teams to set up an effective environmental management system.

Won’t this take time out of growing my business?

Environmental improvements can be seen by some organisations as a hindrance to business growth and profitability. ISO 14001 helps overcome these assumptions. Having an ISO 14001 system demonstrates to customers, suppliers and partners that your business takes its corporate and social responsibilities seriously. In addition, the processes and documentation set up as part of the accreditation procedure can support your business to meet legal and regulatory requirements.

As well as the reputable and competitive advantages to implementing ISO 14001, the standard can help your business to reduce operational costs, which produces savings that can then be passed onto your customers. To achieve certification, rigorous attention is given to processes and procedures, and as a result management teams are more likely to recognise areas for efficiency and waste reduction. In short, it won’t cost you money in the long run, instead you’ll be operating more efficiently and thus saving money.

Other benefits to ISO 14001

Achieving ISO 14001 compliance can reduce the risk of fines and prosecutions to your organisation. Consequently this will mean less chance of any surprise visits from the local environmental agency. Insurance premiums should also see a knock on positive effect. The standard also requires management to keep employees and other stakeholders abreast of the latest legal developments, ensuring that the business is well placed to respond to specific challenges and new requirements. In addition to this, many larger businesses are making it policy to do businesses that take their environmental concerns seriously.  Larger companies who have the certification themselves will be looking for suppliers who carry the same certification, and since this is a growing trend, you may be missing out on business if you don’t opt to aim for certification yourself.

Many businesses may already have in place corporate social responsibility policies and may be wondering if ISO 14001 is for them. Consider ISO 14001 if you and your business want to show commitment towards lessening the impact of business tasks on the environment and at the same time reap financial and stakeholder benefits. It is for you if you want to join the ranks of the 14,000 organisations already certified in the UK and over 250,000 around the world. The standard may just be the catalyst to cultural change that your business has been waiting for.

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