ISO 14001: Big Mo' for Environmental Management

By Moretz, Sandy | Occupational Hazards, October 2000 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

ISO 14001: Big Mo' for Environmental Management


Moretz, Sandy, Occupational Hazards


Certification to the international environmental management standard is on the rise. Should your company consider implementation?

Certification to ISO 14001 -- an international standard that lays the groundwork for environmental management systems (EMSs) -- is on the rise, both in the United States and around the world. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Swiss-based organization that issued the standard, reports a record 79 percent increase in certifications worldwide from 1998 to 1999. Although the most notable growth was in Japan and the Far East, the United States saw registrations more than double from 291 in 1998 to 636 in 1999. In July, the number was more than 800.

Reasons for implementing ISO 14001 vary, ranging from gaining a competitive edge globally to improving community relations to just plain "doing the right thing" environmentally. Although ISO 14001 is technically a voluntary standard, it is becoming, in some areas, a business necessity. Often seen as a requirement for doing business in Europe, most of the major auto manufacturers, including Ford and General Motors, are requiring their suppliers to be certified to ISO 14001. Other major companies, including IBM and Bristol-Myers Squibb, although not requiring suppliers to be certified to ISO 14001, strongly recommend it.

In fact, interest over EMSs seems to be coming from every corner. Earlier this year, President Clinton signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to develop and implement EMSs. In June, the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation issued a statement that advocates companies adopting EMSs.

Major banks are even considering EMSs in their decisions to give loans, notes Thea Dunmire, president of ENLAR Compliance Services Inc., a Largo, Fla.-based consulting firm. The move toward EMSs is "snowballing," she says.

What's a company to do? "My very strong recommendation is that companies implement ISO 14001 and be ready to achieve certification if the business warrants it," says Joel Charm, director of environmental, health and safety services for Excel Partnership, a consulting and training firm based in Sandy Hook, Conn. In short, Charm, who also serves as chairman of the U.S. subcommittee of the Technical Advisory Group on ISO 14001, recommends having an EMS in place and then getting third-party certification by a registrar, if required. "Clearly, it's growing as a requirement for doing business," he says.

A Step Back

ISO 14001 is the cornerstone of ISO 14000, a family of international standards covering environmental management. The standards are generic, which means that they can be applied to all types of organizations, whether large or small, regardless of their product or service. As such, ISO 14001 doesn't contain actual performance requirements. It does require, however, a company to set environmental goals and establish programs to meet those goals, as well as continually improve its environmental performance and adhere to governmental requirements. Most importantly, ISO 14001 strives to make environmental concerns an inherent part of the overall business management process.

ISO 14000 is similar to 150 9000, a series of international standards on quality management. Industry experts say elements of ISO 14000 also match up with other widely used standards or programs, such as QS 9000, an automotive quality standard; OHSAS 18000, an occupational health and safety management system; OSHA's VPP program; and the American Chemistry Council's Responsible Care program.

Jim Thatcher, manager of health, environmental and safety plant services for Atofina Chemical Co. Inc., based in Philadelphia, says his organization's training in 150 14001 has not been overly difficult because it dovetailed with training already being done for the VPP program and Responsible Care. "We went with what we had and fine-tuned it with the ISO process," he says.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

ISO 14001: Big Mo' for Environmental Management
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?