ISO 14001 certification is now more important than ever before because the pressure is on to be environmentally conscious and to manage your operations with sustainability as our focus. Although many people are aware of the ISO 14000 family of standards, actually applying the standards to business operations is not yet as popular. The ISO 14000 family of standards provides your company with the tools that you need to manage your environmental compliance sufficiently.
ISO 14001 certification for the ISO 14001:2015 is now available. Preparing for certification, however, is just as important as the actual certification process. Note that ISO 14001:2015 focuses mainly on the establishment and maintenance of environmental management systems for organisations. The standard provides the framework which your firm can follow for creation and management of your Environmental Management System (EMS), irrespective of the sector in which your firm operates.
By getting the latest ISO 14001 certification, your firm provides its employees, clients and stakeholders with the assurance that your firm meets the minimum standards for environmental management. They will appreciate your compliance and will thus have more confidence to invest in your firm, support it and to work for the company.
Well over 290 000 ISO 14001 certifications in over 169 countries have been done. If your firm wishes to compete for government tenders or to trade internationally, it is important to ensure compliance and certification.
Revision of the Old ISO 14001
ISO standards are not static. Business and operation environments change, and the standards are adapted to reflect the changes. ISO 14001 has been thoroughly revised and the ISO 14001:2015 standard is now fully operational. Following the guidelines of the standard will help your firm improve on your environmental performance in terms of responsibilities and ensure accountability regarding your policies and procedures to maintain sustainable operations.
Achieving specific intended objectives will mean that your firm will add value to your specific operations environment. Consistency is key in compliance to ensure a system that improves on performance and ensures complete compliance with the specific requirements.
The revised ISO 14001certification can be done regardless of the company size, nature, business focus, industry and geographic location. The standard applies to all the activities, products and services of your company as related to achieving specific environmental goals. What the standard doesn’t specify is the particular environmental compliance performance criteria.
You can use the entire standard or just a part, but systematic implementation is essential. That being said, you cannot claim compliance for ISO 14001 certification purposes if you have not implemented the requirements into your company’s EMS and have not complied with all the requirements.
Why the Revision?
ISO 14001 is one of the most used standards internationally. With environmental changes and urgency in managing responsibilities, it has become necessary to revise the standard to ensure applicability for the future. The revised ISO 14001 is responsive to the latest changes, trends and importance for giving the required recognition to firms that have met and gone through the trouble to meet compliance requirements.
The new ISO 14001 focuses more on leadership and alignment with the firm’s strategic direction, protection of the environment through proactive steps, and improvement of communication through the establishment of relevant communication strategies. The standard considers the life-cycle of products and services throughout.
ISO 14001 has been in existence for almost two decades and the ISO technical committee has seen the need to bring the standard in line with the latest trends. The committee believes that the new standard will be applicable for at least another two decades, ensuring a holistic approach to environmental management.
Technological changes over the past two decades and foreseeable changes for the next 20 years have made it essential to update and revise the standard, in order to ensure that companies that comply keep their competitive edge in the marketplace.
As many as 121 experts have worked together to bring about the new ISO 14001, to ensure that certification will declare your firm as environmentally sustainable and responsible, and give you the recognition for your commitment to the reduction of your firm’s environmental impact.
How to Get ISO 14001 Certification
Have WWISE help audit your firm to determine shortcomings. We call it a GAP analysis. It is a pre-assessment whereby our consultants will assess your current EMS and compare it with the ISO 14001:2015 certification requirements. The GAP analysis helps you to save time, money, resources and frustrations in getting certification. With the non-conformances identified and recommendations made, we provide you with the guidelines that you need to ensure corrective steps for gaining compliance when going through the certification process.
Next comes the formal ISO 14001 certification assessment to determine whether your firm has developed the necessary systems, procedures and controls. You will receive a report of any gaps in conformance and you have the opportunity to close the gaps. Should your firm meet the requirements, you will go through formal criteria for certification. Once the certification assessment has been passed, you receive the certificate as evidence of your firm’s compliance. The ISO 14001 certification is valid for 36 months, whereafter a re-assessment must be done.
We offer you a maintenance programme as well, whereby we help you to ensure ongoing compliance and thus minimise the risk of your firm not meeting the requirements in three years’ time. Ongoing commitment to improvement is essential and forms an integral part of ISO compliance. The maintenance programme entails regular audits, meetings to discuss compliance, ongoing improvement techniques and tools, and planning.
Your firm will furthermore benefit from the WWISE training on various aspects of ISO 14001 hosted throughout the year. We recommend reviewing the GAP analysis process, our auditing services, training and the maintenance proposal.
What to Do Next?
Ensure that your firm can operate and compete on the international front, and that you meet the latest ISO 14001 certification requirements. View our range of services and contact us for GAP analysis, audit, training or certification services in South Africa.