Contrary to what some providers tell us, environmental management system certification is not something you buy online, plug in and get instant results! There are challenges to overcome in achieving certification, but these are far outweighed by the benefits.
The ways in which we live and work these days can often negatively affect our environment, and it is up to all of us to act in a responsible manner to minimise this impact.
Public Image, Social Conscious
This is especially so when it comes to doing business, and not merely for those organisations involved in high risk industries, such as mining. And it’s not just legislation that is pushing us to act responsibly, but also pressure from customers and other stakeholders, public image, social conscious and operational efficiency.
The ISO 14001 Environmental Management System is recognised worldwide as a way of meeting legislative requirements, reducing impact on the environment, meeting customer expectations, reducing risk, waste and our use of limited resources.
Implementing this system correctly takes time and expert guidance, and obviously some cost, but the rewards are far greater.
The ISO 14000 family of Standards are specifically designed to help organisations put the policies and procedures in place to minimise or remove completely any risk to the environment. It’s a framework, if you like, a set of tools, that can be used by management to achieve this.
ISO 14000 is not new; it was first developed in 1996 and has since gone through many reviews and updates, the latest being in 2015. These updates are necessary to keep the system topical and useful to those that use it, and to reflect any changes in legislation.
The journey towards environmental management system certification takes time and professional guidance. There is no quick fix and generally, any attempt to take a short cut will end up costing more, or even costing the company certification itself.
Implementing an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System in Queensland starts with a commitment, on behalf of not only the business owner, but the entire staff, at every level. Without this commitment, the system is likely to flounder.
Assessing Environmental Impact
After the commitment comes the conversation with consultants, so the latter can fully understand the organisation, its processes, its goals, and its likely environmental impact. While environmental impact will, of course, be greater for a mining company, construction company or other high risk organisation, all businesses have an impact and all can benefit from ISO 14001.
Consultants can ascertain the level of risk by looking at operations and procedures, workplace, power and other resource usage, waste, and so on.
From that point it’s a matter of tailor-making the environmental management system to suit the organisation’s needs. Note ‘tailor-make’ – there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Knowledge And Experience
Organisations such as Standard Consulting in Brisbane work with International Standards every day; they know the latest legislative changes, and they have experience across all major industries.
The ISO 14001 Environmental Management System will incorporate worthwhile existing policies, and add new ones, to create a system capable of minimising risk, reducing the business’s costs, improving its reputation, and taking it forward to meet legislation.
A great deal of planning and consultation goes into this stage, which could be seen as a challenge by some. Equally so, is the need for audits.
Why Auditing Is Crucial
Auditing plays a major role in all ISO management systems – without it, there is no way of telling if the system is consistently achieving its goals. Many larger organisations employ or train their own internal auditors, a very wise move indeed. The internal auditor reports back to management, ensuring the constant review and improvement of systems.
To achieve ISO certification, however, an external audit will take place, although much of this is based on the documentation and procedures created during the implementation stage.
Businesses that have been through this process report a great many benefits. They will start to see greater savings in running the business, as well as greater efficiency and less wastage.
Certification always boosts the business’s reputation amongst customers, but it is also proven to improve staff morale and further boost productivity.
It provides invaluable tools to management to operate the business in the best possible way, and gives the certainty that all legislative requirements are being met.
ISO 14001 Environmental Management System in Queensland covers all aspects of environmental care, from the type of product or service being produced, to the business location, power use, waste system, even the ink cartridges it uses.
In this way, it is a holistic approach and, as such, enables an organisation to more easily manage its day to day operations.
ISO 14001 environmental management can stand alone, or can be part of an ISO integrated management system, alongside ISO 9001 quality management, AS/NZS 4801 safety management and OHSAS 18001 safety management.