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Increasing awareness of environmental issues such as pollution and climate change mean effective environmental management is critical for modern organisations of all sizes. ISO 14001 is the international standard for Environmental Management Systems (EMS). It is a framework that helps organisations to understand and reduce the environmental impacts and risks that result from their operations, and improve their environmental performance.
It was developed to address concerns around environmental issues such as: unsustainable resources usage (e.g. energy, water and raw materials), waste generation and disposal; potential environmental accidents such as chemical spills, and contamination of soil or groundwater.
The ISO 14001 standard shares some of the structure and methodology of ISO 9001, e.g. both include requirements such as control of (relevant) documents and continual improvement, but the main requirements of ISO 14001 are to: reduce, reuse and recycle; prevent pollution, comply with the law, and continue to improve environmental performance. Where the internal resources are available, a company may choose to implement an ISO 14001 EMS itself, whilst others prefer to engage ISO 14001 consultants to handle the process professionally. Adeptus also provides bespoke ISO 14001 consultancy and support documentation to support companies undertaking DIY ISO 14001 implementation.
Just as ISO 9001 does not prescribe the levels of quality to be adhered to, ISO 14001 does not specify levels of environmental performance to be achieved. Rather, it is a flexible framework for the management of self-determined environmental performance targets, and those that are legal requirements.
Certification to ISO 14001 demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to operate in an environmentally sustainable manner, pro-actively manage environmental risk and ensure they remain in compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, in the interests of all stakeholders. Organisations have found that environmental management also makes good financial sense, because it drives efficiency and leads to saving money.
Adeptus are ISO 14001 consultants with a wealth of experience in assisting companies to implement and certify to management systems standards. Organisations will often have in place some of the elements necessary to achieve ISO 14001 certification – where this is the case, we can develop a system around what is in place and realign it with the standard, thereby retaining current knowledge and reducing the time and cost involved.
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