ISO 14001 – A Simple Introduction from an ISO Consultant

Jul 1, 2014 | ISO 14001, ISO Consulting |

How would I summarise ISO 14001 ? As an ISO consultant, I regularly come across examples of ISO consulting practice that make me feel vaguely ashamed. Certain practitioners seem to enjoy making the simple complicated. Then, the “short”becomes very long indeed. There is much common-sense running through the whole concept of ISO Standards, Achieving and maintaining them is not difficult, believe me!

So, what’s it all about ?

Environmental impact, and your business. Ensuring that you have a management system that keeps your business legal. Fines and imprisonment are real possibilities. The media love a good pollution story

Why would my business want approval against this standard ?

Sell into government or local government based organisations, and it’s almost expected. Likewise, for tenders. Certification by a UKAS Accredited Certification Body to ISO 14001 will favour you during the tender adjudication. And your customers may ask for it. Many now have environmental improvement targets in place. These include the performance of their suppliers and sub-contractors. Therefore,your customer may expect you to gain certification. I’ve mentioned, much of the controls are now law. An ISO 14001 based environmental management system will keep you out of court and the news.  Also abreast of changes in legislation, which are numerous and frequent.

How Long Does Approval Take?

It depends, of course, on the nature of your business. If you already have basic procedures in place, ISO Consultants can create a bespoke Environmental Management System. Then audit its application to ISO 14001. Finally, we can get it through a UKAS approved certification.  Completion in eight weeks is possible in the right circumstances.

What am I likely to need to do ?

Identify the areas of your business which have a significant environmental impact. Then develop appropriate processes for the control and reduction of their impact.
Normally, there are three areas of focus :

Waste – Removal needs to follow specific procedures and be strictly monitored.

Pollution – Causes of pollution need to be recognised. Then control processes implemented.

Energy – Control of use needs to be applied. Reductions made where possible.

What is this likely to cost ?

Our fees are based on a day rate. The number of days are based on your activities. They are typically 6-8 days for a small business. There is then certification by a UKAS approved body.. This is likely to cost £ 4-5000 for a three year certificate covering a small company.

Meanwhile, after twenty years of working in the quality and standards industry , I’m still on a mission to make the craft of ISO Consulting less mysterious. Also more practical, and a way to do better business. I’ve given you a generic, short introduction to ISO 14001. But it’s always better for me when I learn how your business can specifically benefit.  Please get in touch!

Written by Colin Brown of ISO Consultants

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