Expert Services by and to Environmental Consultants Regarding ISO Compliance
The ISO 14000 series of standards, as issued by the International Standards Organisation, is aimed at helping enterprises, regardless of their sizes and the economical sectors in which they operate, to sufficiently address the impact of human and economical activities on the environment. With the international concern for potential climate change, NGOs and international organisations such as the United Nations are increasing their pressure on governments around the world to enforce stricter environmental regulations.
Many mines in South Africa have closed since 1994 because of factors such as depletion of resources, labour unrest, low market prices for the ores, high operating costs, non-compliance with occupational health and safety regulations, and inability to minimise their environmental impact sufficiently to ensure compliance with environmental legislation.
The expertise of environmental consultants in South Africa has become essential regardless of the type of operations that a business intends. Whether it is for the opening of a new fuel forecourt, prospecting, or for setting up a mountain bike trail, water theme park, manufacturing plant or resort, environmental impact studies must be conducted.
Apart from the expertise concerning Environmental Impact Assessments, the environmental consultants in South Africa also aid industries such as mines to identify areas in which they need to make improvements to comply with legislation and the requirements of ISO 14001 for implementing Environmental Management Systems. It is not possible to only address environmental management without also addressing aspects of the quality of management and occupational health and safety. Consultants such as WWISE offer clients expertise in setting up environmental management systems that can be integrated with their existing management systems.
With integration of the various ISO-compliant management systems, such ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems and ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems, client enterprises are able to overcome silo effects, reduce their management costs and improve their compliance performance.
How Compliance with ISO 14001 Helps Firms
With the growing acknowledgement around the globe for the need to be more environmentally responsible in all business operations and social behaviour, proactive steps are taken to minimise environmental impact. As mentioned earlier, many mines have in South Africa have already closed because of non-compliance with environmental legislation.
Companies cannot afford to ignore the international pressure for compliance with environmental standards and regulations. Failure to do so leads to penalties regarding local environmental legislation compliance and failure to get licenses for operation. Closure of businesses because of non-compliance with environmental legislation or their inability to compete with compliant firms lead to job losses, which affect the economy negatively. In order to stay competitive, they need to change the way they operate and implement environmental management systems.
However, it is important that such systems be compliant with the internationally accepted ISO 14001 standard, ensuring on-going improvement in practices and compliance, reduction in waste, reduction in cost associated with clean-ups and impact on humans and the environment, and general improvement in processes.
Environmental consultants in South Africa help firms to prepare for compliance, assist in training programmes for internal auditing, and preparation for certification. Though certification is still voluntary, obtaining it helps firms to prove their commitment to sustainable environmental practices. In addition, they have the supporting evidence of meeting internationally accepted standard requirements, which helps them to gain a competitive advantage over firms that are not certified. This is so because international trading partners are increasingly looking for trading partners that are ISO-certified in aspects of quality and environmental management.
Such firms also benefit from customer confidence regarding the company’s environmental responsibility. With consumers also becoming aware of the need to work, operate and live more sustainably, they look for suppliers of products that have shown their commitment to environmentally sustainable practices.
Other new and forthcoming environmental standards in which we provide expert guidance, auditing services, training, systems integration services and maintenance programmes include, but are not limited to:
- ISO 14005 – framework for EMS implementation in phases specifically by small and medium-sized enterprises.
- ISO 14067 – reduction of product carbon footprint and greenhouse gases.
- ISO 14066 – requirements regarding greenhouse verification and validation.
- ISO 14069 – calculation of carbon footprint of supply chain as well as products within it.
At WWISE we not only provide internal and external auditing services, GAP analysis programmes and certification preparation guidance, we offer an extensive range of environmental management courses suitable also for environmental consultants. Such training includes environmental legislation awareness to ISO 14001 training, and internal and external audit training.