When you set out to establish a business in this day and age, especially as a retailer that deals with international entities, you will soon come across the term Environmental Management ISO 14001.
So what does ISO 14001 mean, and what is the scope of ISO 14001?
You need to address these questions, especially when your business deals with international entities.
To begin with, ISO stands for Organisation Internationale de Normalisation or the International Organisation for Standardisation in English.
The International Federation of the National Standardizing Associations (ISA) was established in 1923. After a hiatus for the Second World War, the organisation was reformed and rebranded as the ISO in 1947. Based in Sweden, the ISO is a non-governmental organisation that aims to develop international standards for all fields other than electrical and electronic engineering.
It does this by issuing its extensive list of standards as well as publishing technical reports, technical specifications, publicly available specifications, technical corrigenda, and guides.
All of the ISO’s standards are given a number from one through to 99999. There are not 99,999 different standards, not all number brackets are complete, and the actual number of standards is closer to 22,000.
Businesses can seek certification in many of the ISO standards. Being ISO certified is a sign of quality amongst the international business community.
The most important, or at least most relevant ISO standards to international business are:
ISO 14001 was first developed in 1996 with revisions in 2004 and, most recently, 2005. It isn’t the only ISO standard that is worth your while if you want to be a green company.
The top three other standards that the ISO recommends looking into are:
ISO 14001 is a framework that any company can use to set up effective environmental management systems. By establishing a set of criteria that a business would meet to maintain optimal environmental management, they lay out a system to help all businesses to meet accepted minimum standards for environmentally sound practices.
As a comprehensive framework, ISO 14001 covers all aspects of environmental management for businesses. If you want to be fully comprehensive, you can also investigate other standards in the ISO 14000 family.
Most large-scale businesses are qualified under several ISO certificates. For those that want to promote a high level of dedication/adherence to environmental management, there are other certificates under ISO 4000 family as well.
According to the ISO that covers the 14001 standards:
So an environmental management system is a way for your company to stay on top of environmental issues and ensure that you are working ‘green’.
As an outline for an environmental management system, ISO 14001 is particularly useful because it is designed to fit in with other ISO standards like ISO 9001 and ISO 45001.
Since its introduction in 1996, ISO 14001 has been revised twice.
The latest revision in 2015 was part of a regular review to keep the standards up to date with trends and relevant to the current market.
Along with allowing for easier integration with other ISO standards, the latest version offered these improvements:
Complying with ISO 14001 can bring a number of benefits to your business.
ISO 14001 certification is not a legal requirement in any country, including Australia.
However, becoming certified signifies to your stakeholders and clientele that you care about the environment and are doing what you can as a business to comply with industry's best standards. It also shows that you are confident and willing to have a third party come in and examine your practices.
To be certified, you need to be achieving the goals and guidelines set out in ISO 14001. Therefore your certification shows that you are achieving the highest environmental goals set down by a respected international body.
If you have your company ISO 14001 certified, you would be joining over 300,000 organisations in 171 countries worldwide.
Another benefit of ISO 14001 is that you can use it to make better choices about who you work with. If you work with ISO 14001-accredited suppliers, you will have the peace of mind that they are as environmentally conscious as you are and your business’s carbon footprint will be reduced even further.
The ISO offers books, manuals, and courses through its website.
The organisation also offers some handy tips for getting started if you are hoping to implement ISO 14001 within your company:
Major companies around the world are benefiting from ISO 14001.
One significant company that has reaped the benefits is Tata Global Beverages.
With a US$1.4bn turnover and interests in seven different sectors, Tata is the second largest tea company in the world.
Tata Global Beverages has multiple certifications with the ISO, including ISO 14001.
The UK-based company says that being ISO 14001 certified has paid off in many ways, not least reducing their £750,000 (AUD$1.3 million) energy bill.
They say that they saved £56,000 (AUD$98,671) in the first year alone and that the constant drive for improvement created by ISO 14001 helps them to keep saving.
Tata Global Beverages says that the implementation of ISO 14001 was simple and cost-effective. The money they spent on certification was easily covered by the resulting savings.
It is clear that ISO 14001 is a benefit for any company operating within the global marketplace. Not only does it create positive optics for your company by showing that you care about the environment, but it also helps to save money and maximise operations.
Then, of course, there is the actual environmental benefit that can't be overstated. Many believe that the environment is the single biggest issue facing the world today. Large scale businesses and global trade are unfortunately major contributors.
By choosing ISO 14001 and other standards from the ISO 14000 family you will be doing your part for the future of the planet.
Another way you can help the environment that will fit comfortably with any ISO 14001 management system is to use a sourcing agent when you purchase goods from overseas.
A sourcing agent negotiates directly with international suppliers on behalf of your business, cutting out any middlemen and additional costs.
Quality sourcing agents will also work exclusively with international factories and suppliers that meet environmental and ethical standards. This way you know you are getting the best quality products at the best price while also helping the environment and ensuring that factory workers are well-treated.
With a sourcing agent, you can:
Using a sourcing agent in conjunction with ISO 14001 is the best way for a retailer to make the most out of their business while also being environmentally friendly.
Are you ready to work with a quality sourcing agent? Contact Epic today