Environmental Management System Certification
stands for International Organisation for
It is an international body based in Geneva,
Switzerland and was formed in the year 1947. The
organisation consists of representatives from over 160 countries. Each country is
represented by its national standards body. For example, India is represented by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
ISO comprises more than 180 technical committees, covering many industrial sectors and products. These technical committees, as far as
possible, try to address the requirements of
the member countries while formulating their
standards. It aims at harmonization of
standards at the international level with a
view to minimise trade and technical barriers.
ISO publishes both product and system
With global warming and adverse climate change becoming harsh realities today, world leaders are seeking ways and means to protect our planet from these ill effects of environmental pollution.
Alongwith the society, business organisations are also realising the need to do their bit in this endeavor. Out of choice or compulsion, many organisations are implementing Environmental Management Systems (EMS) as per ISO14001:2015 standard, and subsequently seeking ISO14001:2015 certification.
The ISO14001:2015 is an international standard on Environmental Management Systems, published by the ISO.
It spells out the requirements of Environmental Management Systems that need to be complied with.
The other standards in the series such as ISO14004:2016
provide guidelines for implementing ISO14001:2015.
The ISO14001:2015 standard replaces its older version, namely, ISO14001:2004.
can apply ?
legal entity having manufacturing / service
operations can apply for ISO14001 certification.
Manufacturers, Service Organizations, Trading
Houses, Banks, Hospitals, Educational
Institutions, Government Agencies, etc. are eligible.
of ISO14001 certification
Some of the benefits of ISO14001 certification are:
- Systems approach to environmental management and company-wide awareness about the need for environmental protection
- Clarity in definition of EMS related authorities and responsibilities
- Reduction in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, more responsible ways of waste disposal, and, better emergency preparedness
- Better documentation and traceability to root causes of EMS problems
- Reduction in the need for multiple assessments (by customers)
- Use of recognized mark (of certifying agency) on letterheads etc., and
- Enhanced corporate image and market positioning.
involved in ISO14001 certification
steps involved in any ISO14001 certification
project are the following:
Analysis: Detailed assessment of environmental aspects and associated significant environmental impacts and the prevailing pollution control system vis-a-vis ISO14001 requirements.
- Initial Review and Planning: Review of findings of gap analysis by Senior Management, and planning for ISO14001:2015 implementation.
- System Documentation: Preparation of manuals, forms, campaign posters etc.
- System Implementation: Implementation of the system as per manuals.
- Company-wide Training: Training on ISO14001:2015 requirements & procedures, Emergency Evacuation and Fire Fighting, First Aid, and EMS Internal Audit.
- EMS Internal Audits: Periodic audit of the Environmental Management System and corrective / preventive actions on audit findings.
- Pre-assessment: Initial audit by Certifying agency, and, implementation of corrective actions on audit findings.
- Final Assessment: Detailed assessment by the Certifying agency and recommendation for certification.
There are three major cost elements in any ISO14001 project:
- Cost of procurement of measuring instruments for pollution monitoring, pollution control equipment, safety devices, and modifications to factory / office / premises / vehicles / plant machinery with high risk of environmental emergencies.
- Cost of training resources / fee to be paid to external consultants.
- Fee to be paid to the certifying agency.
The above costs depend on the size and complexity
of operations of the applicant organisation.
deciding on your ISO14001 consultant, consider
As in the case of medical / financial services, look for formal qualifications. At its
minimum level, a graduate degree in Engineering (Civil / Industrial / Production / Plant / Mechanical / Metallurgical / Chemical / Electrical) with additional degree/diploma in environmental engineering could be acceptable. Apart from ISO14001 requirements, your consultant must also be aware of the local statutory and regulatory requirements (such as the Factories Act and Rules, Pollution Control Act, Boilers Act, Fire Safety Rules, etc.). Consultants with engineering / science background are far more suitable than those with some other educational background.
Your ISO14001 consultant should have the experience of handling atleast one or two ISO14001 projects independently or as the principal consultant. Avoid those with long experience in other fields and little exposure to ISO14001.
Do not sign-up those ISO14001 consultants who claim to represent a particular certifying agency and/or offer package deals. Also, do not go with those document forgery experts who assure you the ISO14001 certification within ridiculously short time span (say, fifteen days). When you expose your personnel to such unethical people during project implementation, it would cause irrepairable damage to your organizational culture.
Please keep in mind that ISO14001 is no complex technology, and, any organisation (big or small) with genuine commitment to prevention of pollution and environmental protection can achieve it.
Willingness to help in documentation:
Your ISO14001 consultant should prepare first draft
of at least the EMS Policy Manual, EMS Procedures, and Standard Forms for EMS record keeping. This would help in quick implementation of the system.
Support till certification:
firm commitment from your consultant that he
shall provide support till your company gets
Choosing a certifying agency
This job is also very important. Usually, your ISO14001 consultant suggests some reputed names. But, do not forget to ask your friends in the industry and verify the credibility of the certifying agency. As ISO14001 is more relevant in contractual situations, your customer can be well aware of the standard of certifying agencies. Although there are hundreds of ISO14001 certifying agencies worldwide, only a few have good reputation !
Also, you must insist on signing the service agreement between the Certifying Agency and the Organization applying for certification and pay the audit fees directly to the Certifying Agency. Reputed certifying agencies do not sign-up or bill via a third party like a consulting / accounting / manpower placement agency.
point is regarding recognition of certification.
In case your buyers are from a different
country, it is better to select an auditing
agency well recognized in the buyers' country.
is yet another factor. Due to stiff competition,
certification fee has come down a lot. However,
there can be hidden costs like cost of flying
down an auditor from a remote location. In that
case, hidden cost can be more than certification
fees. So, always go for a credible agency with
sufficient number of auditors stationed locally.
BV, DNV, SGS, TUV, and UL are some of the reputed ISO14001 certifying bodies operating globally.
Useful ISO14001 resources
The following products and services could be helpful in understanding the requirements, developing the system documents, implementing the system, and getting the coveted ISO14001:2015 certification:
- ISO14001:2015 Awareness Training Kit (Product Codes: M0014A / M0014B)
- ISO14001:2015 Implementation Kit (Product Codes: M0055A / M0055B)
- Management System Audit Training Kit (Product Codes: M0005A / M0005B)
- Project eConsulting Service for ISO14001:2015 Certification (Service Codes: C0023 / C0024)
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