ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems is a generic management system standard. It gives an organisation the best step by step ways to improve their efficiency and manage the available resources effectively. This environmental management system covers all the industry sectors, local governments, manufacturing and process industries and their suppliers. Getting ISO 14001 certification; an organisation proves itself environment friendly, as this system not only makes them consider all the environmental issues such as air pollution, water and wastewater issues, solid waste management, soil contamination but also provides the necessary mitigation measures.
Here comes the question that how to get ISO 14001 certification. A guideline is given below for this purpose.
Steps towards ISO 14001 certification:
The following layout shows the step by step progress towards the certification.
- A certification body is selected which makes an initial visit to client to explain their process of certification. This certification body understands the on-site activities of the potential clients in order to give an accurate quotation for the certification.
- A questionnaire is completed to allow certification body to assess the nature and complexity of your company. This determines the time and skill required to carry out an efficient assessment. A quotation is made confirming the overall re-assessment, cost of certification, and on-going surveillance. To arrange the certification schedule according to this quotation is also a responsibility of certification body.
- Certification body asks to provide the organisations’s EMS document for review in order to check that the documented EMS reflects all essential requirements and is capable of bearing full compliance with ISO 14001.
- The first stage assessment is done by doing a site tour. A detailed plan is provided to certification body and a full report is made on-site. A plan for the certification assessment is also prepared.
- Certification assessment is a review of the effectiveness of the already implemented EMS against ISO 14001 and is followed approximately one month after the first assessment. A full report is prepared and reviewed at a closing meeting. If there is no major nonconformity, recommendation for registration is made otherwise you are requested to provide a preventive action plan and a corrective plan before recommendation is made.
- Then an independent review is conducted on the report. If satisfactory, certification body awards the certification. That certification is valid for three years.
- Satisfactory routine surveillance visits are done during this time period to ensure the sustainable performance of the organisation. Visits are carried out on a six to twelve month basis. The last visit is termed as renewal visit.
- In renewal visit a recommendation is made on certificate renewal. If any adjustment is required to on-going surveillance plan, that is suggested. Renewal package is then reviewed and if it is satisfactory, certification is renewed for another 3 years.
Being ISO 14001 certified is a way to show that your environment is your priority. From a business point of view, organisations often get monetary savings due to greater operational efficiency and energy conservation. Management of waste is also a requirement of ISO 14001. Focus on waste generation of waste, most importantly hazardous waste will identify opportunities for improvement, thus reducing disposal costs. An organisation can make itself more competitive and successful by getting ISO 14001 certified.