The ISO 14000 series of international standards have been developed for environmental management. In September 1996, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) finalized the ISO 14001 standard for environmental management systems (EMS), which was revised and re-issued in 2004. It is compatible with the ISO 9001:2008quality management system (QMS). The ISO14001 standard specifies requirements for establishing an environmental policy, determining environmental aspects & impacts of products/activities/services, planning environmental objectives and measurable targets, implementation & operation of programs to meet objectives & targets, system auditing, checking & corrective action, and management review.
REQUIREMENTS OF ISO14001
A key requirement of ISO 14001 EMS is having documented environmental manual, environmental policy, register of environmental aspects & impacts of products/activities/services, register of environmental legislations relevant to your operations, environmental objectives and measurable targets, documented procedures for implementation & operations of the system to meet objectives & targets, checking & corrective action, and management review. Documented procedures are implemented and maintained in such a way that successful achievement of environmental goals commensurate with the nature and scale of activities is facilitated. Internal Audits of the EMS must be conducted routinely to ensure that non-conformances to the system are identified and addressed.
The Environmental Management System (EMS) document is the central document that describes the interaction of the core elements of the system, and provides a third-party auditor with the key information necessary to understand the environmental management systems in-place at the company. Consistent with the principles of ISO14001, the Environmental Policy and Environmental Aspects/impacts analysis, including legal & other requirements, shape the program by influencing the selection of specific measurable environmental goals, objectives, & targets. Specific programs and/or projects must then be developed to achieve these environmental goals, objectives, & targets (in ISO14001 terms, this would be referred to as “Implementation & Operation”). The checking & corrective action elements of the system help ensure continual improvement by addressing root causes on non-conformances. The ongoing management review of the EMS and its elements helps to ensure continuing suitability, adequacy, & effectiveness of the program./p>
WHY THE CONCERN ABOUT ISO-14001?
Conformance to ISO14001 is increasing becoming a contractual requirement of customers in Nigeria and many other African countries. Furthermore, as competition becomes stiffer in the market place, ISO 14001 will ensure loss prevention as part of cost saving scheme. Also, because ISO-14000 is a continuation of the ISO-9000 Product Quality standards, it is expected that ISO-14001 may eventually become a requirement for attaining ISO-9001 re-certification. Thus, many companies are setting goals to establish environmental management systems that conform to ISO 14001 guidelines in order to remain competitive in the global marketplace. For those companies who have already obtained ISO 9001 registration and/or follow Total Quality Management (TQM) system principles, the ISO-14001 registration is a logical next step because it is very similar to ISO-9001 and the principles of TQM.
BENEFIT OF BEING REGISTERED TO ISO 14001
- Reduced raw material/resource use;
- Improved energy efficiency;
- Improved process throughput;
- Reduced waste generation and disposal costs, and utilization of recoverable resources.
- Satisfying the customer’s quality requirements,
- Complying to regulations, or meeting environmental objectives
- Reducing environmental liability and risks
- Competitive advantage, from “green products”
- Improving community goodwill
- ReReducing insurance cost