ISO 14001 sets out the criteria for an environmental management system. It maps out a framework to set up an effective environmental management system, to be used to improve resource efficiency, reduce waste and drive down costs. Using ISO 14001 can provide assurance to company management and employees as well as external stakeholders that environmental impact is being measured and improved. ISO 14001 can also be integrated with other management functions and assists companies in meeting their environmental and economic goals.
ISO 14001 assists companies in continually improving their environmental performance, whilst complying with any applicable legislation. Organizations are responsible for setting their own targets and performance measures, with the standard serving to assist them in meeting objectives and goals and the subsequent monitoring and measurement of these.
The standard can be applied to a variety of levels in the business, from organizational level, right down to the product and service level. Rather than focusing on exact measures and goals of environmental performance, the standard highlights what an organization needs to do to meet these goals. All standards are periodically reviewed by ISO to ensure they still meet market requirements. The current version of ISO 14001 – ISO 14001:2004 is under review as of April 2012.
Basic principles and methodology
PLAN – ESTABLISH OBJECTIVES AND PROCESSES REQUIRED
An initial review or gap analysis of the organization’s processes and products is required to identify all elements of the operation and - when possible - future operations that may interact with the environmental aspects. These aspects are both direct, such as those used during manufacturing as indirect, such as raw materials.
The review helps the organization to define the environmental objectives, goals and targets, ideally measurable KPI’s, it contributes to the development of control and management procedures and processes and serves to highlight any relevant legal requirements to be integrated into the policy.
DO – IMPLEMENT THE PROCESSES
The organization identifies required resources and staff responsible environmental management and control process. This encompasses procedures and processes for operational control and to foster better management control over elements such as documentation control, emergency procedures, the education of employees to ensure competent implementation of the necessary processes and records. Communication and participation across all levels of the organization, especially top management is a vital part of the implementation phase.
CHECK – MEASURE AND MONITOR THE PROCESSES AND REPORT RESULTS
Performance is monitored and periodically measured to ensure that environmental targets and objectives are being met. In addition, internal audits are conducted at planned intervals to ascertain whether the environmental management system meets the expectations and whether the processes and procedures are being adequately maintained and monitored.
ACT – TAKE ACTION TO IMPROVE PERFORMANCE OF EMS BASED ON RESULTS
A management review is conducted to ensure that the objectives are met, the extent to which they being met, that communications are appropriately managed and to evaluate changing circumstances, such as legal requirements, to make recommendations for further system improvement. These recommendations are incorporated through continual improvement of all processes and procedures.
The core of the continual improvement process ISO 14001 has three dimensions:
- Expansion: More and more business areas are covered by the implemented system.
- Enrichment: More and more activities, products, processes, emissions, resources etc. are managed by the system.
- Upgrading: An improvement of the structural and organizational framework of the system, as well as an accumulation of know-how in dealing with business related environmental issues.
The continuous improvement will make the organization to gradually move away from merely operational environmental measures towards a strategic approach on how to deal with environmental challenges. At Stahl we strongly believe in being a responsible citizen. That includes taking responsibility in a structured manner for dealing with environmental issues. We continuously strive for ISO 14001 compliancy for all our Manufacturing Sites.