In the modern world, it is more important than ever for individuals and organizations to do their part to manage their environmental impact and help to protect the planet.
An ISO 14001 Environmental Management System can be applied to business of all size, type and scale from large factories and office complexes to small businesses.
Here is an overview of what to expect from the process of ISO 14001 implementation and the path to certification.
In order to prepare, you will need to properly understand what ISO 14001 is, how it works, it’s requirements and what you need to do to implement and achieve ISO 14001 certification.
You should also assess the expectations of the standard and decide whether you have the internal resources to effectively make the required improvements or if it would be beneficial to enlist the services of a professional ISO consultant who can manage the process for you.
· Initial Review and Gap Analysis
Performing a gap analysis will help to determine how your existing EMS is performing and identify what areas need strengthening, changing or improving in order to meet the requirements of the standard. It is also a very helpful tool that can be used to establish what processes and documentation exist within the organisation and the gaps between what you have and what you need. This can be done internally or through your ISO consultant who can complete it for you.
· Consultation / Planning
Whether you do decide to go with a consultant or try to tackle this inhouse, for this step you need to;
- Outline your goals
- Decide what you want the business to achieve
- Define successes
- Reach agreeable outcomes
Either yourself or the consultant will produce your organisation’s ISO 14001 documentation, auditing the existing procedures, documenting the new systems and setting out how the business should operate going forward.
In order to put the important documentation to practical use, the senior management team need to work to ensure that the framework is embedded throughout the organisation. This will involve developing and delivering training to staff so that they have a thorough understanding of ISO 14001, what is expected of them and how to implement it. Doing so helps to create consistency and improve efficiency through the use of environmentally sound tactics.
· Submission to the Auditor
Before you are awarded ISO 14001 certification; your organisation needs to be submitted to an independent third-party certifying body which is suitable for your company. The objective of this audit is to obtain whether your business is conforming to ISO 14001 and meets the requirements of the standard.
Once it is confirmed that your organisation is ISO 14001 compliant, you will be presented with your certificate. Having this accreditation in place demonstrates to existing and potential customers that the management of your environmental impact conforms to this internationally recognised standard and provides assurances that they are being measured and improved.