What is ISO 14000?

Essentially, ISO 14000 is a series of international, voluntary environmental management standards as well as guides and technical reports. It specifies the requirements for establishing an Environmental policy determining the environmental impacts of products or services, planning environmental objectives, implementing programs to meet the various objectives, and conducting corrective action and management review. The first and foremost objective of the ISO 14000 series of standards is to promote effective environmental management systems in organizations. Besides, the standards seek to provide cost-effective tools that make use of best practices for organizing and applying information about environmental management. Actually, the ISO 14000 family was developed in response to a recognized industry need for standardization. The comparisons of system and collaboration had proved difficult with different organizational approaches to environmental management.

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History of ISO 14000

According to history, the first environmental management system, BS 7750 was published in 1992 by the BSI group. The International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) created the ISO 14000 family of standards in 1996. In 2004, ISO 14001 underwent to revision and the current revision of ISO 14001 was published in September 2015.

Series of ISO 14000

Following are the aspects of environmental management addressed by the ISO series:

  • Environmental Management Systems (EMS)
  • Environmental Auditing & Related Investigations (EA&RI)
  • Environmental Labels and Declarations (EL)
  • Environmental Performance Evaluation (EPE)
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
  • Terms and Definitions (T&D)

What are the compliances to an ISO 14000 EMS?

Following are the compliances for the ISO 14000 EMS:

  • Assurance to the customers of your commitment to demonstrable environment management
  • Public relations must be excellent
  • Investor criteria must be satisfied and improve access to capital
  • Insurance must be obtained at a reasonable cost
  • Image enhancement and market share
  • Registration requirements must be met with the clients
  • Cost control must be improved by identifying and eliminating waste and inefficiency
  • Lessen the incidents end up in liability
  • Reduction in the consumption of materials and energy
  • Facilitates the attainment of permits and authorizations
  • Decrease the cost of Complying with environmental regulations
  • Relations between industry and government improves

Registration of ISO 14000

The registration of ISO 14000 is a formal recognition of an organization’s ability to conform to the requirements of an EMS. Any organization can simply declare that their EMS meets the requirements of ISO 14001 ( self- declaration). In addition to this, many organizations choose to have their EMS registered and it happens usually to provide greater assurance to clients and the public or because regulators and clients require it.

What are the basic Principles behind the ISO 14000 series? 

Following are the key principles of the ISO 14000 standards:

  1. Result in better environmental management
  2. Encompass environmental management system and the aspects of environmental products
  3. Applicable in all countries.
  4. Promote the broader interests of the public as well as users of these standards.
  5. Cost-effective as well as non-perspective and flexible so they are able to meet the differing needs of organizations of any type or size, worldwide
  6. Flexibility  to be suitable for internal and external verification
  7. Scientifically based
  8. Last but not least, Practical, useful and usable.

What are the benefits of getting ISO 14000 Certified?

Following are the benefits of getting the ISO 14000 certification:

  1. It identifies and controls the environmental impact of its activities, product or services.
  2. Continuously improve its environmental performance
  3. Helps in implementing a systematic approach to setting environmental objectives to achieving these and to demonstrating that they have been achieved.
  4. Ensuring legal compliance.

Apart from this, there are several other benefits also which is categorized under Internal benefits and External benefits:

Internal Benefits:

  • Assurance to the management: It is in the control of the organizational procedures and activities having an impact on the environment.
  • Assure employees: It assures the employees that they are working for an environmentally responsible organization.

External Benefits:

  • It provides assurance on environmental issues to the external stakeholders such as customers, community and regulatory agencies.
  • Comply with the regulations of the environment.
  • Claims and communication: It supports the organization’s claims and communication about its own environmental policies, plans, and actions by gaining its EMS certificate.
  • Demonstrate conformity: It provides a framework for the demonstration conformity via suppliers’ declarations of conformity, assessment of conformity by an external stakeholder such as business client and for certification of conformity by an independent certification body.

What are the various standards of ISO 14000 based on Organisation and Product?

ISO 14000 is a series that falls into basically two major groupings i.e Organisation oriented and Product oriented documents. Under organization oriented standards, it provides a complete guidance for establishing, maintaining and evaluating an EMS. It is also concerned with other organization-wide environmental systems and functions.

Following is the list of the published organization-oriented ISO 14000 standards, TRs and Guides:

  1. ISO 14001:2004, Environmental Management Systems— Guidance with the specification for use
  2. ISO 14004:2004, Environmental Management Systems— Complete guidelines on principles, systems and supporting technique
  3. ISO 14010:1996, Guidelines for Environmental Auditing— Complete guidelines for environmental Auditing (General Principles)
  4. ISO 14011:1996, Guidelines for Environmental Auditing— Complete guidelines for environmental Auditing, Audit procedures, Auditing of Environmental Management systems
  5. ISO 14012:1996, Guidelines for Environmental Auditing— Complete guidelines for Environmental Auditing, Qualification criteria for environmental Auditors
  6. ISO 14031:1999, Environmental Management— Evaluation of environmental performance (guidelines)
  7. ISO/TR 14032:1999, Environmental Management— Examples of environmental performance evaluation (EPE)
  8. ISO/TR 14061:1998, Information to assist Forestry Organisations in the use of Environmental management system standards ISO 14001 and ISO 14004.
With parallel to this, the product-oriented standards are concerned with determining the environmental aspects and impacts of products or services over their life cycles, and with the application of environmental labels and declarations on or to products. These standards assist an organization in assembling the data needed to support planning and decision-making and to communicate specific environmental information about a product or services to customers, end-users, and interested parties.
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