Data released today on the uptake of the international Environmental Management Systems standard ISO 14001 shows that the number of certificates issued worldwide has grown 7% in just one year. The worldwide total of certificates now stands at 324,148.

IEMA can report that the data published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) shows a year-on-year increase of over 22,500 certificates between 2013 and 2014. ISO 14001 is globally the second most used standard companies use to manage their performance, with certifications on 170 countries. The data on global uptake of ISO 14001 comes just one week after a revised version of the standard was published following a three year review process.

The UK has held its position as fourth in the global league table, behind China (117,758), Italy (27,178) and Japan (23,753).

Martin Baxter, IEMA’s Chief Policy Advisor and the UK’s appointed expert to the ISO 14001 revision working group, says: “The growth we’re seeing in the uptake of ISO 14001 is incredibly encouraging. The new standard raises the bar on the expectations it sets for how organisations manage their environmental performance, and will lead to a positive outcome for businesses around the world.”

The new version of the standard, published on 15th September, been developed to better align with business strategy and to support organisations becoming more resilient to external environmental change. The new standard requires companies to:

  • Put in place measures to proactively respond to growing environmental risks
  • Ensure top management are accountable for environmental performance improvement
  • Place greater emphasis on managing environmental impacts across the value chain

The standard has received widespread recognition and support from business – in a recent survey conducted by IEMA over 40% of businesses said the revised standard will bring greater buy in from senior management. Around 40% of businesses saved at least £10,000 since implementation, with some businesses saving over £5 million as a result of using ISO 14001. The majority of these savings were delivered through energy efficiency measures (71% of those surveyed) and improved waste management (64% of those surveyed). Wider benefits include improved environmental performance (38%), meeting legislative requirements (39%), enhancing stakeholder relations, and generating new business opportunities (22%).

Recent BSI research into the economic benefits of business standards - including ISO 14001 – shows a net £8.2bn contribution to the UK economy.