Organizations around the world, as well as their stakeholders, are becoming increasingly aware of the need for environmental management, socially responsible behavior, and sustainable growth and development.
Accordingly, as the proactive management of environment aspects converges with risk management, corporate governance and sound operational and financial practices and performance, international standards are becoming increasingly important for organizations to work towards common and comparable environmental management practice to support the sustainability of their organizations, products and services.
Furthermore, government and regulatory bodies are increasingly invoking to ISO Standards to provide a framework to ensure alignment of consistency both nationally and internationally.
Overview of the ISO 14000 family of standards
ISO 14001 is the world’s most recognized framework for environment management systems (EMS) - implemented from Argentina to Zimbabwe - that helps organizations both to manage better the impact of their activities on the environment and to demonstrate sound environment management.
ISO 14001 has been adopted as a national standard by more than half of the 160 national members of ISO and its use is encouraged by governments around the world. Although certification of conformity to the standard is not a requirement of ISO 14001, at the end of 2007 at least 154 572 certificates had been issued in 148 countries and economies.
Other environmental management tools include: ISO 14004, which complements ISO 14001 by providing additional guidance and useful explanations.
Environmental audits are important tools for assessing whether an MES is properly implemented and maintained. The auditing standard, ISO 19011, is equally useful for EMS and quality management system audits. Ir provides guidance on principles of auditing, managing audit prorammes, the conduct of audits and on the competence of auditors.
ISO 14031 provides guidance on how an organization can evaluate its environmental performance. The standard also addresses the selection of suitable performance indicators, so that performance can be assessed against criteria set by management. This information can be used as a basis for internal and external reporting on environmental performance.
Communication on the environmental aspects of products and services is an important way to use market forces to influence environmental improvement.
Truthful and accurate information provides the basis on which consumers can make informed purchasing decisions.
The ISO 14020 series of standards addresses a range of different appproaches to environmental labels and declarations, including eco labels (seals od approvals), self declared environmental claims, and quantified environmental information about product and services.
ISO 14001 addresses not only the environmental aspects of an organization's processes, but also those of its products and services. Therefore ISO has developed addtional tools to assist in addressing such aspects. Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool for identifying and evaluating the environmental aspects of products and services form the "cradle to the grave": form the extraction of resource inputs to the eventual disposal of the product or its waste. The ISO 14040 standards give guidelines on the principles and conduct of LCA studies that provide an organization with information on how to reduce the overall environmental impact of its products and services.
ISO 14064 parts 1, 2 and 3 are international green house gas (GHG) accouting and verification standards which rpovide a set of clear and verifiable requirements to support organizations and proponents og GHG emission reduction projects.
ISO 14065 complements ISO 14064 by specifiying requirements to accredit or recognize organizational bodies that undertake GHG validation or verification using ISO 14064 or other relevant standards or specifications.
ISO 14063, on environmentla communication guidelines and examples, helps companies to make the important link to external stakeholders.
ISO Guide 64 provides guidance for addressing environmental aspecs in product standards. Although primarily aimed at standards developers, its guidance is also useful for designers and manufacturers.
Upcoming new standards
Sustainable developemtn policy and practice has attracted considerable attention and debate in the past 15 years. Our understanding of and concerns about enviromental and sustainalbe development issues have also evolved over time. Just as th existing ISO 14000 standards play an important role in helping organizations to address today's priorities, so too can future standards help to address future priorities.
An integral part of an organizations's EMS is the commitment to continual improvement. ISO and their mauritian partnet the Mauritius Standards Bureau, take this principle to heat and are constantly improving thier process to identify and respond to new standardization needs. ISO success in continuing to work on relevant standards is evidenced by the developemnt of the following new standards:
ISO 14045 will provide principles and requirements for eco-efficiency assessment. Eco-efficiency relates environmental performance to vlaue created. The standard will establish an internatioanlly standardized methodological framework for eco-efficiency assessment, thus supporting a comprehensive, understandable and transparent presentation of eco-efficiency measures.
ISO 14051 will provide guidelines for general principles and framework of material flow cost accounting (MFCA). MFCA is a managment tool to promote effective resource utilization, mainly in manufacturing and distribution processes, in order to reduce the relative consumption of resources and material costs.
MFCA measures the flow and stock of materials and energy within an organization based on physical unit (weight, capacity,volume and so on) and evaluates them according to manufacturing costs, a factor which is generally overlooked by conventional cost accounting. MCFA is one of the major tools of environmental management accouting (EMA) and is oriented to internal use within an organization.
ISO 14067 on the carbon footprint of products will provide requirements for the quantification and communication of greenhouse gases (GHGs) associated with products. The purpose of each part will be to: quantify the carbon footprint (part 1); and harmonize methodologies for communicating the carbon footprint information and also provide guidance fo this communication (part 2).
ISO 14069 will provide guidance for organizations to calculate the carbon footprint of their products, services and supply chain.
ISO 14005 will provide guidelines for the phased implementation of an EMS to facilitate the take-up of EMS by small and medium-sized enterprises. It will include the use of environmental performance evaluation. ISO 14006 will provide guidelines on ecodesign.
ISO 14033 will provide guidelines and examples for compiling and communcating quantitative environmental information.
Finally, ISO 14066 will specifiy competency requirements for greenhouse gas valdators and verifiers. The development programme of ISO/TC 207 is constantly evolving, driven by market needs. hence the above is a small sample of areas where standards are currently in development.
Environmental and economics benefits
Although the ISO 14000 standards are designed to be mutually supportive, they can also be used independently of each other to achieve environmental goals. The whole ISO 14000 family of standards provides managment tools for organizations to manage their environmental aspects and assess their environmental performance. Together, these tools can provide significant tangible ecomonic benefits, including the following:
Reduced raw material/resource use
Reduced energy consumption
Improved process efficiency
Reduced waste generation and disposal costs
Utilization of recoverable resources
Of course, associated with each of those economic benefits are distinct environmental benefits too. This is the contribution that the ISO 14000 series makes to the environmental and economic components of sustainable development and the triple bottom line.
MS ISO 14001:2004 - Environmental Management System
MS ISO 14001:2004 specifies requirements for an environmental managment system to enable an organization to develop and implementa policy and objectives which take into account legal requirements to which the organization subscribes, and the information about significant environmental aspects that the organization idetifies as those which it can control and those which it can influence. it does not itslef state specific environmental performance criteria.
The International Standard is applicable to any organization that wishes to:
a) Establish, implement, maintain and improve an environmental management system.
b) Assure itself of conformity with its stated environmental policy.
c) Demonstrate conformity with this international standard by:
Making a self determination and self declaration or
Seeking information of its conformance by parties having an interest in the organization such as customers or
Seeking confirmation of its self-declaration by a party external to the organization or
Seeking certification management system by an external organization
The basic components of an EMS include:
A policy statement (including a commitment to compliance, prevention of pollution, and continual improvement)
An analysis of environmental impacts and legal requirements
A statement of goals/objectives/targets and initiatives
A corrective action plan
A management review system
The benefits of the ISO 14001 standard are numerous. Above all a company with an ISO 14001 certification will have:
A strong competitive advantage in the international and national market place
A reduction in Environmental trade barriers to facilitate trade
An enhanced public image
Demonstrated environmental commitment and improved recognition of products
More efficient and cost saving pollution prevention projects
Reduction in potential liabilities
Potentially lower insurance premium
Greater personal awareness and involvement in environmental related issues.
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