ISO 14001 is an internationally recognized standard through which an organization can demonstrate an advanced level of competence in managing the environmental impacts of its activities and processes.
The standard is not an environmental management system as such and therefore does not dictate absolute environmental performance requirements but serves instead as a framework to assist organizations in developing their own environmental management system. ISO 14001 can be integrated with other management functions and assists companies in meeting their environmental and economic goals.
ISO 14001 with its main aim to assist companies in continually improving their environmental performance whilst complying with any applicable legislation. Organizations are responsible for setting their own targets and performance measures, with the standard serving to assist them in meeting objectives and goals and the subsequent monitoring and measurement of the performances. The standard can be applied to a variety of levels in the business, from organizational level, right down to the product and service level. ISO 14001 is known as a generic management system standard, meaning that it is applicable to any size and type of organization, product or service, in any sector of activity and accommodate diverse socio-cultural and geographic conditions.
- Developed primarily to assist companies in reducing their environmental impact
- Organizations can reap a number of economic benefits including higher conformance with legislative and regulatory requirements by utilizing the ISO standard
- Minimizing the risk of regulatory and environmental liability fines and improving an organization's efficiency
- As an internationally recognized standard, businesses operating in multiple locations across the globe can register ISO 14001, eliminating the need for multiple registrations or certifications.
- There has been a push in the last decade by consumers, for companies to adopt stricter environmental regulations, making the incorporation of ISO 14001 a greater necessity for the long term viability of businesses and providing them with a competitive advantage against companies that do not adopt the standard
- Leading to a reduction in waste and consumption of resources, operating costs can be reduced resulting into higher operating margins
- This in turn can have a positive impact on a company's asset value and can lead to improved public perceptions of the business, placing them in a better position to operate in the international marketplace
- It can serve to reduce trade barriers between registered businesses
- Organizations can significantly benefit from EMS implementation through the identification of large cleaner production. ISO 14001 can be a very effective tool to identify these cost savings opportunities for some organizations.
- Improvements that organizations can make include adequately planning their structure and allocating adequate resources, providing training, creating forums for discussion, setting measurable targets and working according to the philosophy of continuous improvement.