How ISO 14001 Implementation Can Benefit the Organisation’s Performance
ISO 14001 implementation should be done to reduce organisational impact on the environment. The standard implementation requires the organisation to follow a systematic approach in managing the environmental impact of the organisation. Following this approach, the organisation aims to achieve ongoing improvement in their environmental management. Part of ISO 14001 implementation entails the development of an organisational environmental management policy in which the organisation’s environmental aspect management is clearly stated, and where it is defined how its environmental objectives and targets will be managed and its environmental risks controlled. Once done, the organisation creates the structure and sets the employee roles and responsibilities and training requirements.
The operational success of the ISO 14001-compliant environmental management system is determined by aspects such as the communication of policies and procedures, the preparedness for responding to emergencies, and the document, procedural, and operational control. All of the above should be included in the organisation’s environmental management system manual for full documentation of how the organisation intends to reach its goals and objectives regarding environmental management.
The EMS manual should also include the methods for measuring performance in the above regard, as well as the monitoring of the organisation’s impact on the environment, in addition to the controls in place for identification of non-conformances and, finally, how the corrective actions must be implemented to prevent a repeat of environmental incidents. ISO 14001 implementation also requires the setting of internal audits and reports as part of regular and ongoing monitoring and controlling of corrective actions. Regular management reviews must thus be done to ensure ongoing improvement of the EMS. Organisations already have environmental management plans in place, but to ensure that their systems are aligned with international standards and requirements, the implementation of ISO 14001 is highly recommended.
Some changes and improvements to their current environmental programmes may be needed to ensure compliance with the standard. As such, it is unnecessary for organisations to start from scratch when they plan to implement ISO 14001. They can use their existing EMS and improve on it to fill in the gaps to make their current systems compliant. The EMS manual of the organisation is thus a good starting point in getting a clear indication as to how the organisation deals with environmental issues, such as how to manage their wastewater, minimise the risk of air pollution, handle hazardous waste disposal, and which policies they follow in purchasing materials.
As such, the manual can be used and improved upon to also include the other management practices of the organisation where relevant. Integration can, for instance, take the form of integrating the expense calculation practices, followed by the organisation’s operational practices related to environmental management. ISO 1400 implementation can thus be done in such a way as to integrate it with quality management (ISO 19001) and occupational health and safety management systems for cost-effective and streamlined management of the various management systems for compliance.
If the organisation is unable to identify where their environmental spending lies, it is not able to identify possible opportunities for savings and improvement of their practices. Unless the management can see how the organisation benefits financially from implementation of ISO 14001 and their reduced impact on the environment, the EMS will not succeed, because management will opt for the cheapest route, to the detriment of the environment. It is thus important to implement activity-based costing, which makes it possible for management to get a clear picture of how the environmental costs add up by product or process, instead of basing it on the region. With this approach, it is possible to review the product design and process to identify expenses as related to the environmental effect of each and how it can be reduced. Following the above approach, the organisation can benefit from cost savings related to reduction in wastage, improved hazard control, and reduction of environmental impact. In this way, ISO 14001 implementation improves the company’s financial performance as well.
Another benefit of ISO 14001 environmental management system implementation is that it improves the company’s environmental performance. This is an ongoing process. The organisation’s GAP analysis identifies the areas in which improvement is needed and after the corrections have been made, the internal audits follow, as well as the readiness audit. The organisation, once it has acquired certification, then follows a maintenance plan to ensure ongoing improvement and compliance.