For any organisation that is serious about being sustainable and environmentally responsible, Environmental Management System Certification is probably the best way to go.
It not only provides a framework in which the business can operate and evolve, but it also brings many benefits in terms of reputation and cost savings.
Implementing an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System in Queensland involves a recognised process, working within an International Standard framework for optimum results.
As with most ISO management systems, ISO 14001 is process-driven, in order to place sound environmental management at the heart of your organisation, and instil in your stakeholders a sense of sustainability.
The process starts with an understanding of the need for, and benefits of implementation. At that point most organisations engage the help of experienced ISO consultants, to draw up the actual framework, and timescale.
The timescale varies according to the type of industry, size of organisation, and how much needs to be done before certification. The important point here, however, is that the moment you begin the process, your organisation will start to benefit, with accreditation really the cherry on top.
Honest Assessment Essential
That initial assessment must be brutally honest, as it’s the areas of non-compliance which most need attention. From that assessment comes the compilation of your organisation’s unique environmental management manual, which will also take into account those systems that are currently working well.
This personalised system then allows the organisation to improve its environmental performance through more efficient use of all its resources – raw materials, labour, water et cetera – and reduce waste.
The benefits to the organisation are many, and include cutting costs, gaining a competitive edge, instilling trust in stakeholders, attracting new customers, and putting the company in a stronger position for future growth and success.
Once a term used mostly in the health industry, we now hear the word ‘holistic’ applied to business practices, and an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System allows organisations to Plan-Do-Check-Act in a holistic manner.
This is a sound business practice as, when you consider the principle of cause and effect, it’s clear that every section of the organisation needs to work as one to achieve the best outcomes. A decision regarding production will affect the budget, the workforce, timescales, and so on.
Revised in 2015 to be more relevant to today’s marketplace and environmental issues, ISO 14001 now requires a business to consider all environmental issues relevant to its operations, including waste management, resource use and efficiency, water and sewage, air pollution, soil contamination, even climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Like all ISO management system standards, it requires continual assessment and improvement of the business’s systems and approach to environmental concerns.
International Standards provide a helpful checklist to get businesses started on the road to obtaining Environmental Management System Certification.
The first step is to define your objectives: Why are you choosing ISO 14001? What do you hope to achieve? Do you have the resources to see this through? Do you require professional guidance?
As the revised version of ISO 14001 is based on strong management, the next step is to get their support from the get-go. Your managers need to commit to the objectives and to the process, setting an example from the top down.
Next comes that assessment we mentioned earlier, deciding what works and what doesn’t; what stays and what has to go. This is a crucial step as it lays the foundations for the future.
Standard Consulting in Brisbane can provide all documentation, training and expertise to enable organisations to achieve ISO 14001 accreditation. The team can write and implement your new ISO 14001 Environmental Management System in Queensland – or adapt an existing management system for certification; train key staff at the start of the process, and then train all other staff during the process, so that all personnel are competent.
Going forward, the company can also assist with the maintenance of management systems, including internal audits, NCR closeouts and system updates.
Australia Lagging Behind
Seeking professional support to work through the ISO process is highly recommended, especially if the company has a high success rate. Many businesses who try and go it alone fail, because they were not properly prepared, they failed to get management on board, or they failed to communicate effectively with their stakeholders.
New data just released shows that ISO 14001 certification has increased 8% over the year. There are now 319,324 ISO 14001 certificates worldwide.
ISO 14001 remains the world’s most used environmental management standard. Globally, it is also the second most used standard overall, used to manage performance.
What is concerning, however, is Australia’s slow uptake, at a time when businesses are being urged to reduce their carbon footprint. China tops the global league table with 114,303 certificates issued, followed by Japan (26,069), Italy (22,350) and the UK (17,824). Australia currently sits on 4400 certificates issued.