A formal environmental management system (EMS) which meets the requirements of ISO 14001 will help you to establish the environmental impacts for every aspect of your business. It will ensure that you are aware of the environmental issues that are relevant to your business (including interested parties). It will provide awareness of the legislation which applies to your company enabling you to remain in compliance. It will ensure that you have set objectives & targets for improvements based upon risk.
General Overview of the Standard ISO14001
Environmental performance is accorded secondary status in most companies. This is generally because Quality & Safety are considered to have more of an immediate and impact particularly in relation to legal compliance and keeping the customer happy. As a result Environmental issues are normally only addressed as and when they arise, usually too late. What most companies don't take into account is the fact that environmental impacts tend to be long term and cumulative and generally have an impact outside the boundaries of the site and on the community. The effect is therefore less apparent and easier to overlook or ignore. Companies are generally aware they have a responsibility for the environment and believe they are operating in an environmentally sensitive manner. In reality only a small number of companies are even aware of the environmental legislation to which they are subject. As a result, only a handful are able to truthfully claim they are in compliance or are sensitive to the environment.
A common reaction amongst companies who implement an Environmental Management System (EMS) addressing the requirements of ISO 14001 is: