Annual increase of 9% in global use of environmental management systems (EMS) as ISO 14001 certifications exceed 285,000 in 167 countries

In its annual survey of certifications, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) confirms significant growth in the number of ISO 14001 environmental management system certificates at the end of 2012, up 9% on the previous year to 285,844.

Commenting on the data, Martin Baxter, Executive Director - Policy and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and the UK’s appointed expert on the current revision to ISO 14001 said: “ISO 14001 is a globally recognised framework for organisations around the world improving their environmental performance. The growth in the number of organisations using the standard is recognition of the business value that can be gained from investing in environment and sustainability.”

The UK’s position in the top five countries is recognition that UK companies are enhancing their competitiveness through improved efficiency and enhanced reputation.”

ISO’s survey shows that an additional 23,887 organisations were certified at the end of 2012, compared with 2011. East Asia and the Pacific (51%) and Europe (40%) account for the majority of users globally.

IEMA is actively engaged in the revision to the standard and published its position statement setting out key issues that need to be addressed. In developing its position, IEMA’s member survey of environment and sustainability professionals showed that:

  • Over 90% supported proposals for aligning environmental management systems with an organisation’s strategy;

  • Over 84% supported 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;

  • 92% considered that ISO 14001 needs to strengthen requirements on organisations to demonstrate their legal compliance and environmental performance improvements;

  • 88.5% believe that IS0 14001 should require organisations to consider impacts from a changing environment. Organisations face growing risks from scarcity of natural resources to a changing climate, such as flooding. ISO1 4001 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.