#10 What is ISO 14001?
In researching and writing these posts I’ve come across the term ‘ISO 14001’ a number of times when talking about sustainable products and initiatives. It was something I really wasn’t familiar with and while I assumed it was good I wasn’t actually sure what it was. So I turned to google and this is what I found.
Essentialy ISO 14000 is an internationally recognized general set a standards relating to environmental mangagment that exist to help organisations
- minimize how their oporations negatively affect the environment
- comply with applicable laws, regulations and other environmentally orientaited requirements
- and continually improve in these areas
ISO 14001 is a standard within this set contains the actual requirements that an organisation has to comply with to become certified to the ISO 14000 standard.
These standards pertain to the process of how a product is produced rather than the product itself. Certifiacation is awarded by third-party organisations as is the case with similar environmental certifications.
Currently within Australian there are over 1,500 organisations certified to ISO 14001 standard. Globally there were over 188,000 in 2008 that had been issued certificates.
With more and more companies becoming aware of their environmental impact and being active in altering and minimizing it, implementing ISO 14001 allows them to formalize the process and gain official recognition for their actions. The standard can be easily integrated into existing management systems as well as those in development.
You can find the 17 elements of ISO 14001 and more information on the certification outlined here.
I think this certification is an excellent incentive for organisations to become more active in their approach to minimizing environmental impact. For a company to be officially recognized as being environmental conscious allows consumers to easily identify when they are doing something desirable. The companies business improves and consumers are able to make informed decisions. It would be great if ISO 14001 compliance/certification became standard within all Australian (and global) organisations.