ISO 14001 was first published almost 20 years ago, in 1996, and has since been recognised as the ideal way for businesses to prove their environmental corporate social responsibility credentials.
Organisations can use ISO 14001 to create an Environmental Management System, a tool to help them manage and reduce their environmental impact.
The internationally recognised standard – developed by the International Standards Organisation – sets a global benchmark for best practice in environmental management. In order to ensure it earns its status, ISO 14001 is reviewed frequently, with the most recent update published in September 2015.
The major changes in the revised version of the ‘green’ standard include a new structure shared with other ISO management standards, leading to better integration. A less prescriptive format also ensures it is a standard more accessible than ever. There is now a greater strategic and leadership involvement expected intended to increases staff engagement and motivation. A life cycle approach is now embedded into the standard, which helps businesses show greater responsibility towards being a sustainable, more socially responsible organisation.
RECOMMENDED READ: The business guide for ISO 14001
ISO 14001 in a nutshell
The ISO 14001 standard is designed to be a practical tool to manage environmental responsibilities, whilst assisting organisations to understand and comply with applicable environmental laws. The standard is proven to help organisations be greener and save money through measuring and reducing environmental impact.
Benefits of ISO 14001
We live in a world now where clients can shop around at ease, to find the best price and service. So in increasingly competitive markets, it is essential to stand out and demonstrate reasons for clients to be loyal. One step is to demonstrate a social conscious, by showing that you care about impact your organisation has on the local environment and community. ISO 14001 certification helps businesses prove true environmental credibility, rather than just giving their word for it.
Increasingly green credentials are expected if you are part of a supply chain, or tendering for a public sector contract. Certification to ISO 14001 has shown to give competitive advantage, with 69% of the British Assessment Bureau’s clients citing in a recent Client Satisfaction Survey that they gained access to or won new work thanks to holding certification. With 61% of respondents saying the main motivational factor to obtain certification was to be able to successfully tender for new business, it’s fair to say ISO 14001 really does deliver.
Of course, fundamentally ISO 14001 is about reducing environmental impact. Due to efficient work practices through implementing ISO 14001, it’s also been shown to reduce costs in:
- Waste and waste management
- Insurance premiums
ISO 14001 Successes
According to data from the British Assessment Bureau’s survey, 18% said that the ISO 14001 also helped them keep up with competitors in the market and boosted client’s confidence in them.
With over 324,000 ISO 14001 certificated issued worldwide in 2014, it is clear that countless businesses agree that taking care of the environment takes care of business. In total, 16,685 ISO 14001 certificates were issued to UK businesses in 2014, a 167% increase in 10 years. This is proof that businesses are recognising the importance of ‘being green’ and identify the vast advantages that this standard can offer both in terms of corporate social responsibility and financially.
ISO 14001 is such a popular standard as it can be applied to any organisation, of any size, across any sector. Because the standard is well recognised by central and local Government – thanks to certification saving lengthy and costly credential checks – holding an ISO 14001 certificate means your business is in a winning position whilst others flounder at the pre-qualification stage.
EXPLORE OUR INFOGRAPHIC: A brand new ISO 14001 infographic exploring why it is more than just a green standard
To emphasise the benefits, client feedback confirms the importance of obtaining ISO 14001 certification in order to win new business. David Robbie from The McDougall Group explains,
“As a result of having the certification we’ve won new contracts, we have saved money by having better processes in place and operationally we are better in terms of structure.”
Dael Telecom have also benefited from being issued with their ISO 14001 certificate as Project Manager, Kara Jeffery describes,
“It has opened doors to larger clients. We are now classed as a tier one supplier because of the accreditation.”