How to Prepare for ISO 14001 Certification
ISO 14001 was updated in 2015, to ensure it stays relevant to the environmental management needs of businesses in the modern environment. The standard is relevant to any organisation, regardless of its size and the industry in which it operates. The aim of the standard is to help organisations reduce their environmental impact, and thus ensure environmental sustainability through the implementation and maintenance of an environmental management system.
The ISO 14001 certification is beneficial, as it helps the organisation prove its commitment to environmental sustainability in its operations. It also holds the benefits of ensuring better organisational performance, and reducing costs, related to incidents that have a negative impact on the environment. An ISO 14001 certification helps the organisation to gain the status of being a preferred supplier, and achieve a competitive edge in the international trading environment.
The ISO 14001 certification gives the organisation credibility with its clients. As such, it can be used in marketing efforts, to show that the organisation is environmentally responsible. In order to obtain an ISO 14001 certification, the organisation must plan, design, implement, and maintain the environmental management system in accordance with the requirements of ISO 14001.
In preparation for ISO 14001, the organisation has to meet several requirements, which are briefly discussed below.
Leadership is an important requirement for ISO 14001 certification. Without management support, it is not possible to successfully develop and implement the Environmental Management Scope (EMS). In this regard, we recommend our ISO 14001 awareness training, to help gain widespread understanding and support throughout the organisation.
Identification of The Various Legal Requirements
The certification also requires the organisation to meet its country’s environmental laws and regulations. As such, it is essential to gain a full understanding of the legal requirements regarding environmental management in South Africa. We also provide training in this regard.
Creating the Environmental Management Scope
It is essential to identify the limits of the EMS, what falls within it, and what must be done. It helps the organisation to focus on the important areas related to environmental impact. Part of this entails the creation of the environmental policy, which also explains the importance of getting management support for ISO 14001 certifications.
Defining the Relevant Procedures
The next step is to identify the various procedures and processes, related to the prevention of environmental incidents and impacts. Part of this entails developing procedures for responding to environmental emergencies. We also provide training in this, helping the organisation to ensure compliance with the requirements for ISO 14001 certification.
Implementation of The Relevant Procedures and Processes
Various processes may already be in place within the organisation, such as monitoring waste disposal from a factory. You need to decide which processes must be documented, since you do not have to document each one, only the ones relevant to the environment. We provide you with templates for implementation, which include checklists regarding documentation, as required for ISO 14001 certification. We also offer consultation, to help you identify which processes must be documented.
Once your top-level management has received relevant training for implementing ISO 14001 for certification purposes, and have attended awareness training, you need to ensure that all employees in the company undergo awareness training. You will also need to ensure that relevant employees are able to undertake internal audits of the EMS. As such, we recommend internal auditing training regarding ISO 14001.
It is essential to perform a gap analysis, to determine shortcomings for ISO 14001 certification. We can assist with this, and help you to identify the problem areas and to correct them.
EMS Measurement and Recordkeeping
You need to collect the relevant records for the auditing process. These records will help show that your organisation’s processes meet the requirements of ISO 14001 for certification processes. We recommend that you operate the EMS for a particular period, as required by the certification body. This will help to identify areas where improvements must be made.
You must audit every process internally, before you can have the certification body conduct the external audit. These audits are important, as you will be able to assess whether you are doing what you say you are doing. Internal audits are also necessary to measure whether the processes work out as planned. Conducting this will help you to correct problems. We offer internal auditing courses, and are able to assist with the internal auditing processes.
Top-level management must be involved in the implementation and maintenance of the EMS. As such, regular management reviews must be done, to ensure that the required resources are in place for the processes. Where relevant, improvements must be recommended and managed.
Corrective steps must be followed, to find the underlying reasons for problems, and the necessary actions must be taken to correct the problem areas.
Once all the above steps have been taken, you are ready for the ISO 14001 certification audit. The process entails the reviewing of your organisation’s documentation by the relevant certification body, to determine whether the requirements of the standard are met. After this audit, your organisation will have the opportunity to address shortcomings, after which the on-site audit will follow. The auditors will review the records, such as internal audit records, management reviews, and the relevant corrective actions. A report of the findings will be issued. If your organisation’s EMS meets the requirements for ISO 14001, you will be receive your certification.
Note that becoming certified is not a once-off process. To ensure on-going compliance, your organisation must maintain and improve the EMS. Your organisation will be required to undergo re-certification at set intervals.
The above is only a summary of what is required for ISO 14001 certification. We provide you with consulting assistance, templates for implementation, training, auditing assistance, certification preparation help, audits, maintenance assistance, and assistance with integration of the EMS with your organisation’s existing systems. View our range of services, products, and courses, and help your company gain certification.