ISO publishes a number of standards that focus on environmental management systems. These are known as the ISO 14000 family. ISO 14004:2004 is concerned with the basic elements included in a comprehensive environmental management system and provides guidance on some of the major issues that may arise during initial creation and implementation. The heart of the ISO 14000 family, however, is the ISO 14001:2004 standard.
What is ISO 14001?
The ISO 14001 standard provides the requirements for designing and implementing an environmental management system. ISO 14001:2004 offers general guidance on this process and establishes a framework for companies interested in implementing green-friendly practices in their manufacturing, industrial and commercial environments. Like many ISO standards, ISO 14001:2004 is deliberately nonspecific so that it can be used in a broad range of working environments. It provides the foundation for creating custom environmental management systems without prescribing specific parameters for those systems.
What is the difference between ISO 14000 and ISO 14001?
- ISO 14000 is generally used to refer to the family of standards concerned with environmental management systems.
- ISO 14001, by contrast, is specifically concerned with the requirements necessary for ISO certification in the field of environmental management.
Advantages of ISO 14001 certification
Maintaining green-friendly business practices is essential in today’s competitive marketplace. Achieving ISO 14001 certification demonstrates the company’s commitment to environmental responsibility and provides solid evidence that can be used to promote the company’s products and services more effectively. Additionally, implementing an ISO 14001 system can produce energy savings and reduce the risk of accidental environmental contamination. This can allow companies to avoid a potentially expensive clean-up process while reducing the overall energy consumption required by the company’s operations.
The ISO 14001 certification process
Once the ISO 14001:2004 environmental management system has been designed and implemented, companies are advised to audit these systems in order to ensure their effectiveness. ISO 14001 certification, however, requires the services of an external certification body that will evaluate and assess the company’s overall system. ISO certification generally indicates that the system is well designed and effective in achieving its stated goals.
ISO 14001 certification can be a major advantage for companies. Consumers are more aware of the environmental impact of business and industry than ever before, making these certifications a valuable tool in promoting and distinguishing the company’s products and services from those offered by competitors. By integrating ISO 14001 standards into their existing workflows and operations, companies can enhance their reputations while reducing energy costs, conserving natural resources and protecting the environment from potential negative effects of on-going business operations.