Businesses have high regard for revised ISO 14001

30th September 2015


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Mark Thomson

The revised standard for environmental management systems, ISO 14001: 2015, was published on 15 September.

The international standard was first published in 1996 and the latest version replaces the 2004 edition. About 300,000 organisations around the world are certified to 14001, including nearly 16,000 in the UK. ISO said the latest revisions aimed to ensure 14001 remained relevant and that the changes responded to the latest trends, such as an increasing recognition by companies of the need to factor in external and internal elements that influence their impact, including climate volatility.

Anne-Marie Warris, chair of ISO/TC 207/SC1, the technical committee that developed the standard and undertook the revision, said she was confident the 2015 version would continue to help organisations manage all their environmental issues holistically. "The new version will help with a stronger integration between environmental issues and an organisation's strategic action planning and thinking," she said. "I foresee the lifecycle perspective and supply chain issues embedded in ISO 14001 becoming stronger in the future."

Martin Baxter, chief policy advisor at IEMA and a member of the group that revised 14001, said: "The new standard significantly raises the bar on the expectations it sets for how organisations manage their environmental performance. It will deliver a step-change in business performance and deliver significant benefits to the environment." Baxter added that the revised standard shifted business focus on the environment from compliance with regulations and direct operations, to placing the environment at the heart of business thinking and strategy.

Nigel Marsh, global head of environment at Rolls-Royce, described the revised standard as a significant milestone in acknowledging that the environment and sustainability were among the most important issues facing businesses worldwide. "The revisions highlight the vital role that senior management can play to ensure their companies have a clear strategic approach to the environment and maximise the opportunities for their business," he said.

The results of a recent survey by IEMA reveal the high regard businesses have for 14001. Some 40% reported annual savings of at least £10,000 from using 14001, with some saving more than £5 million. Most of the savings were delivered through energy efficiency measures (71% of those surveyed) and improved waste management (64%). Wider benefits included improved environmental performance (38%), meeting legislative requirements (39%), enhancing stakeholder relations, and generating new business opportunities (22%). More than 40% of survey respondents said they believed the revised standard would bring greater buy-in from senior management.

Northern Rail becomes one of first firms to achieve 14001: 2015

Northern Rail has become one of the first companies in the UK to secure 14001: 2015 certification. Confirmation of the train company's achievement came on the same day the revised standard was published. Managing director Alex Hynes said it was recognition for the firm's work on integrating good environmental practices across its entire business. "We've worked hard to embed a business-wide strategy for environmental management, from managing our energy use to pollution prevention. Our approach enables us to address challenges collaboratively with our people, making sure we are all contributing to sustainable improvements in our environmental performance." NQA carried out the assessment. Its managing director, Matt Gantley, said: "Northern Rail is the first in the world to achieve certification with NQA to the new standard."


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