The acronym ISO 14001 is an international standard. It establishes the environmental management system requirements of any organization. It isn’t a mandatory, but voluntary rule with a high strategic value.
Iso 14001: how to protect the environment and respond to environmental changes. It’s a question of sustainable development and this depends on three factors: the environment, the economy and society. Therefore, we must work to keep them in harmony.
The aim of ISO 14001 is to realize the today needs, without compromising those of the future generations. This is why it doesn’t just say what to do and what not to do, but it indicates management systems.
14001 is not compulsory, its nature is «voluntary». Therefore, those who apply it within their own organization or company, they do it for strategic reasons, such as for image issues towards their customers or to improve the processes’ efficiency. It makes no sense to apply this rule in the short term, because its effects have to do with the future. The construction of the image, in order to remain to the previous example, is built in the time, so as some environmental practices are estimated only in the medium/long term.
Iso 14001: competitive advantages
As already written, the application of the norm is voluntary. This could create an illusion: the norm doesn’t serve, therefore I don’t apply it. This isn’t the case. In a strategic context, its application makes the difference.
Think of partnerships: there are organizations that require ISO 14001 certification to maintain or establish a relationship. These are people whose activities have a strong environmental value and who cannot afford cooperating with those who don’t have the same aim.
Public notices and competitions: the environmental issue is increasingly pressing and institutions increasingly demand this certification. Therefore, achieving it allows you to participate in the notices. But it isn’t just a business matter. Participating in competitions means positioning as an organization/enterprise in line with the environment and market needs.
Reducing cost: applying 14001 means entering in a virtuous circle. As well as helping to reduce the environmental impact, the management system adoption also helps to manage resources, to reduce waste, to save on energy costs, the use of materials and legal fees for non-compliant activities. Smaller costs means more investment.
ISO 14001: how it works
The ISO 14001 is an international standard, meaning that its application is recognized everywhere and for every type of organization. The requirements are schematizable in the PDCA scheme, a model of continuous processes and products’ improvement. PDCA means Plan, Do, Check, Act. This is the recurrent scheme in all the certifications related to process management. Using the same model for different standards makes it possible to standardise the processes allowing for optimal complex systems management and integration between different standards.
Applying ISO 14001 doesn’t certify the environmental performance or even the impact that the organization/enterprise has on the environment. On the other hand, the certification attests that the management system of the organisation/enterprise is able to manage the effects on the environment. And it does so in a systematic way, in the sense that it aims at continuous, consistent and sustainable improvement.