ISO 14001 is the international standard for environmental management systems now the most widely used EMS in the world, with over 6,000 organizations certified in the UK and an estimated 111,000 organizations’ certified in 138 countries world-wide.
ISO 14001 is the principal management system standard which specifies the requirements for the formulation and maintenance of an EMS. There are three fundamental commitments required in an environmental policy that meets the requirements of ISO 14001. These include:
- Prevention of pollution
- Compliance with legislation
- Continual improvement of the EMS.
What are the benefits?
- Improved environmental performance led by top management commitment.
- Cost savings can be achieved through improved efficiencies in energy and water usage and through waste minimization.
- Reduced risk of pollution incidents and other
- releases to the environment and therefore avoidance of unnecessary clean up costs and/or enforcement action by regulatory bodies
- Compliance with legislation through the identification of new legislation in adequate time to address appropriate issues
- Reduced risk of non-compliance with legislation and subsequent costs/prosecution
- Improved brand image as customers will see an organization that is in control of its impact on the environment
- Improved business focus and communication of environmental issues
- Improved profitability through costs reductions and improved customer satisfaction.
How to achieve certification?
Following steps are to be followed to implement EMS:
- Top Management’s Commitment
- Selection of Capable Consultant
- Environmental Risk Assessment
- Documentation of EMS
- Implementation Review
- Internal Audit
- Selection of Certification Agency
- Certification Audit
Initial Certification Audit
The assessment process for achieving certification consists of a two stage Initial Certification Audit as follows:
Stage 1 – the purpose of this visit is to confirm the readiness of the organization for full assessment.
The assessor will:
- Confirm that the environmental management system conforms to the requirements of the standard including the identification of impacts and aspects
- Confirm its implementation status
- Confirm the scope of certification
- Check legislative compliance
- Produce a report that identifies any non-compliance or potential for non-compliance and agree a corrective action plan if required
- Produce an assessment plan and confirm a date for the Stage 2 assessment visit.
Stage 2 – The purpose of this visit is to confirm that the management system fully conforms to the requirements of ISO 14001 in practice,
The assessor will:
- Undertake sample audits of the processes and activities defined in the scope of assessment.
- Document how the system complies with the standard.
- Report any non-compliances or potential for non-compliance.
- Produce a surveillance plan and confirm a date for the first surveillance visit.
If the assessor identifies any non-conformance, the organization cannot be proceed until corrective action is taken and verified.
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