It is not a fast and easy decision to decide to undergo the process of obtaining ISO 14001 certification. Research needs to be carried out, and answers to nagging questions obtained. Although you, on ground level, along with your management are aware of the benefits of implementing the standards and obtaining the certification, it is not always an easy task to convince the powers that be, that the cost is well warranted. There will always be questions posed by the higher level management, questions that will need addressing before there is any hope that certification process will be granted.
- Why should we obtain this certification?
- What benefits are there for the company or organization?
- What are the cost implications?
- Who will carry out all the work?
- How do we obtain this certification?
All very valid questions and ones that must be answered if a full commitment is to be obtained from the higher management.
Large companies throughout the world are obtaining ISO 14001, and this is always a sure sign that that is the route to take. Big multi-national companies are on top of their game in business and are acutely aware of the trends and market. Following their lead is never a bad thing.
The reasons and benefits for adopting an environmental managment system are wide and varied. International standards and accreditation make it easier to trade internationally as well as nationally. There are no barriers caused through differences in legislation or standards between cooperating companies. A company who has taken the time and made the effort to obtain third party certification such as ISO 14001 is much more credible in the business world. It reveals to all the companies innate commitment to compliance with regulations and a continuous effort on focusing on the environmental impact and issues related to their business. Companies can benefit from incentives issued or presented to companies who show a willingness and who show environmental leadership through certification with an environmental management system. This is one way of preventing stopping pollution and environmental impact and reducing waste within the operation. Consumers these days are committed to saving our environment and prefer to purchase items that are eco-friendly or “green”, but they need assurance that the products or services are in fact so. Environmentalists can apply pressure to companies that is something they don’t want to feel. They are able to take legal action against companies who are not doing their part for the reduction of environmental impact. These legal battles can draw negative attention to the company involved and keep them tied up in costly litigation for extended periods of time. If you have a team who is committed to your cause, you are assured that this is a workforce that is powerful and high-quality. These individuals seek to be a part of the bigger picture and are in need of a safe and healthy working environment. All corporate companies have insurance and you may find that your insurance company is less likely to pay out on incidents caused through pollution if you,as a company, don’t have an environmental management system in place, one that is efficient and has a proven track record. If you are seeking new insurance or additional coverage, you may be hindered through the lack of an environmental management system.
Cost implications of such a certification are heavy but the benefits far outweigh the costs. These are costs that will go towards the greater development of your company and the way your company is perceived by investors, suppliers, and customers alike.
Undergoing the process of obtaining certification is a job that is loaded with responsibility and work. It is the responsibility of the environmental management team to take responsibility for their areas. Each person needs to understand their position and the impact of their work on the environment. Everybody must be accountable for decisions and actions. Of course, this is an area where management has to be actively involved. They are the leaders which the troops will mirror. They need to have a full understanding of the policies and the procedures and take responsibility. Upper management needs to back the process from the outset and offer the system the support and leadership it needs to achieve and succeed.
There are many companies now who provide the services of performing the tasks and processes and doing the evaluations in order for your company to obtain certification. The road to certification is not easy, and will not always be smooth.
There are a number of steps that need to be followed in order to gain this recognition and certification. Each step is dependent on the step that came before it.
- Application or contact
- Initial assessment and document review where a number of things will be evaluated, these include: The Environmental Management System Manual, analysis of the environmental impacts, applicable regulatory requirements, audit reports, organization charts, training programs or courses, management review minutes, and of course your companies plans for continual improvement and development of the system.
- Certification assessment
- Certification Maintenance
Convincing the powers that be is not an easy task, but is you have the team behind you and the commitment towards achieving a more environmentally friendly operation, you will do the necessary research and win them over with all the right answers. They need to understand how viable this certification is in boosting the quality of the workplace, the products, retaining customers, and prolonging the life of our ever deteriorating environment.
It is time for all business leaders to take the initiative and commit to a system that is for the greater good of all mankind. A healthy, happy, and safe workforce will always be more productive than an workforce who is constantly operating under unhealthy, or unhappy conditions. Allow your employees to feel that they are needed for this process to work, they are an imperative part of the implementation and success of processes and procedures. They need to understand the impact of their actions and be held accountable. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of something that is so amazing?