ISO 14001 certifications reach new high

12th December 2012

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The number of ISO 14001 certified environment management systems now exceeds 267,000, according to the latest figures from ISO

In its annual survey of global management system certification rates, the standards body confirms that at the end of 2011 at least 267,457 14001 certificates had been issued across 158 countries.

The total number of certificates is 6% higher than 2010 figures and while described by ISO as a “significant increase”, the growth rate was half that of the previous year, which saw numbers rise by 13%, and is the slowest since the standard was launched in 1999.

Martin Baxter, IEMA’s policy director and the UK’s appointed expert on the current revision of 14001, however, said that the figures confirm the standard is making “a global environmental difference”, and highlighted the importance of the work to update the standard.

“14001 has proved both popular and effective at providing a global framework through which organisations across the world manage their impacts on the environment," he said. “During this time of economic uncertainty, this continued growth in the number of companies that are now certified demonstrates that investing in environmental measures plays a fundamental role in helping companies and economies build a sustainable future.

"With the UK maintaining its position as one of the top five countries globally this is excellent news for UK plc as companies are using 14001 to maintain competitive advantage, cutting costs, enhancing their reputation and winning new business."

In total, 15,231 14001 certificates were issued in the UK by the end of 2011, leaving it fifth in table of countries with the highest number of certificates behind China, Japan, Italy and Spain. The biggest increase in 14001 certificates was seen in China, Japan and Italy, with the UK slipping from its 2010 top three ranking to sixth.

ISO’s survey also reveals that the number of certificates issued against its most popular and long-standing management standard, ISO 9001, fell by 1% in 2011 – the first time numbers have fallen since 2003.

ISO secretary-general Rob Steele said the decrease was down to the revision of the standard that will begin shortly and is planned for publication in 2015.

The 2011 survey also detailed take up of the newly launched energy management systems standard ISO 50001.

In its first year, 461 certificates were issued in 32 countries, with the greatest number of certificates issued in Spain, Romania and Sweden. In the UK just 11 certificates were issued.

The take up of the standard is well below that of 14001, which saw close to 14,000 certificates issued in its first year, and also falls short of the other sector-specific management systems including food safety (4,122 certificates) and medical devices (2,403).

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