Monday, 14 April 2014

All Systems Go For ISO14001 Review

Ever wondered what the international standard is for the management of environmental systems? Look no further, over to Paula Henderson, UK Environmental Manager at CBRE, to explain.

The International Standard for Environmental Management Systems, ISO14001, is currently under review. The plan is to revise and update the most recent version of the standard, dated 2004, to reissue in early 2015.

So, what is ISO14001?
ISO14001 maps out a framework for organisations to use in order to set up an effective environmental management system and has been doing so since the late 1990s.

What’s changing?
The revisions are expected to place greater emphasis on the management of supply chains, improving stakeholder engagement and communication processes, as well as aligning the ISO14001 structure to other ISO standards.

Ok, but what does this mean?
The changes will mean that any organisation wishing to become (or remain) ISO14001 certified will need to demonstrate that environmental and sustainability considerations are built into their core business. Environmental management will need to be integrated into strategic decision making at the highest level, and place emphasis on quantifiable improvements.

While ISO14001 remains a voluntary standard, the revisions compliment the global drive to measure the impact of our actions ensuring business activities and decisions are based upon sound environmental principles.

What next?
It is common to hear organisations claim that sustainability does not apply to their business activities, or that “company X is damaging the environment, not us”.  However, it is now globally accepted that sustainability must move up the corporate agenda and the ISO14001 revisions re-enforce that notion.

Those organisations that merely “tick the box” with the ISO14001 certification, may find that subsequent revisions to the standard will hamper their commitment to a strategic approach to environmental management, resulting in a drop in certification levels.

For those businesses that have already integrated environmental considerations at the highest level, ISO14001 certification will enable them to demonstrate that they are considering economic demands, social equity and environmental resilience in their decision making processes.

Only by adopting this approach can an organisation claim to have truly engaged with sustainability principles.

Written by Paula Henderson
UK Environmental Manager, CBRE


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