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Proposals from IEMA to make ISO14001 able to achieve greater benefits

Posted on 30 July 2012.

Proposals from IEMA to make ISO14001 able to achieve greater benefits

ISO 14001 is the world’s most successful voluntary approach to improving environmental performance in businesses and public sector organisations. It is now being revised by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

“Growing at a rate of over 25,000 organisations per year, ISO14001 has proved both popular and effective at providing a framework through which organisations across the world manage their impacts on the environment. Environment professionals are ambitious and realistic. They want a revised standard that not only delivers greater environmental improvements and helps organisations to meet growing environmental challenges, but also enables more businesses to participate,” said Martin Baxter, UK lead representative for the revisions of ISO 14001.

“The recommendation that achieved the strongest support from environment professionals was to require environment to be integrated into strategic decision making. Over 90% of professionals supported proposals for aligning environmental management systems with an organisation’s strategy,” commented Baxter.

Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) members were recently involved in a process to form the basis of proposals for change and the strongest support was for the following recommendations:

  • aligning environmental management systems with an organisation’s strategy,
  • placing greater emphasis on reducing environmental impacts across the whole life-cycle of products and services including supply chains and in the development and use of products and services;
  • strengthen requirements on organisations to demonstrate their legal compliance and environmental performance improvements;
  • require organisations to consider impacts from a changing environment. Organisations face growing environmental risks from scarcity of natural resources to a changing climate, such as flooding. ISO14001 should provide a framework for organisations to manage the risks and maximize opportunities from a changing environment, helping them to safeguard the future of their business and deliver environmental improvements.

“For ISO14001 to maintain its relevance in a world where environmental challenges are growing, it’s vital that the standard is strengthened, and growing numbers of organisations use it to manage their environmental risks and opportunities. Environment professionals recognise potential for the revised standard to support continued environmental improvements,” said Martin Baxter.

There is a significant level of experience of ISO14001 in many companies where the benefits of environmental management have been seen. There could be many more benefits for a greater spread of companies if the standard is made even more relevant to small businesses and to the changing world environment so that opportunities can be realised and risks minimised.

It is expected that a revised version of the standard will come into effect in 2015, and will operate well into the 2020s.

http://www.iema.net/news?aid=20261