ISO 14001 certification: environmental management with a system
Definition: What does ISO 14001 certification mean?
The certification according to ISO 14001 brings a lot of companies a competitive advantage. In this way they tap into efficiency potentials and create the basis for future investments in sustainable production. Since the ISO 14001 standard requires a continuous monitoring and optimisation, they systematically accompany companies on their way to climate neutrality. They improve their image among employees and applicants, customers and suppliers, and the interested public. For manufacturing companies, an Environmental Management System certified according to ISO 14001 is often also the entry point to an Energy Management System according to ISO 50001.
Why is the ISO 14001 certification important?
For almost all corporate companies and medium-sized companies, the introduction of an Environmental Management System and the certification according to ISO 14001 is important. You profile your corporate commitment to environmental and climate protection to customers, suppliers, and, above all, your employees. In some industries, it is already common for corporations to require ISO 14001 certification from their suppliers or to give them preference in tenders.
Who can be certified according to ISO 14001?
All companies that have successfully introduced an Environmental Management System according to ISO 14001 can be certified. The ISO 14001 certification is especially advisable for companies that, for example, have a higher risk for environmental damages due to their production.
What does the ISO 14001 certification include?
An ISO 14001 certification includes the auditing of an Environmental Management System and whether the ISO 14001 standard has been implemented correctly. An Environmental Management System according to ISO is a continuous improvement process and therefore never-ending. It is structured according to the PDCA cycle. PDCA stands for “Plan – Do – Check – Act” – i.e. plan, implement and regularly check and optimize. Companies define their goals and new processes and how they want to realize them in their company. Afterwards, they develop a system for how these goals can be monitored and controlled in the future, as well as regularly reviewed and optimized along the value chain after their implementation. Hardware and software are often used for the documentation and the following application of the Environmental Management System.
Requirements for an ISO 14001 certification
- Inventory and analysis of strengths and weaknesses:
- Recording of the current situation
- Analysis of potential environmental risks
- Definition of an objective:
- Setting goals and new processes
- Project and Action Planning:
- Definition of tasks and responsibilities
- Training of employees
- Implementation support from the Environmental Management Officer
- Reviewing the new processes for their impact
- Establishment of an Environmental Management System:
- Comparison of the measures for standard-compliant implementation
- Preparation of the environmental documentation
- Definition of key figures for future control
- Mapping of the Environmental Management System in a software
- Training of the employees for the use of the IT system
- Preparation of certification by the Environmental Management Officer:
- Pre-selection of possible approved certifiers
- Preparation and monitoring of the pre-audit in the company
- Support of the final certification process
What are the environmental aspects of the ISO 14001 certification?
- Resource use, consumption, and recycling
- Impact of products over their lifetime to recycling
- Energy types, flows, and consumption in production, logistics, and administration
- Total greenhouse gas emissions by the company
- Environmental impacts (air, soil, water) including species protection
- Waste and wastewater
What are the benefits of the ISO 14001 certification?
An Environmental Management System increases the legal certainty in complying with statutory environmental requirements. It reduces potential hazards arising from a company’s production or business model as well as consequences and liability risks if damage occurs. Often this also has advantages in regard to business insurance. The continuous improvement process enables you to implement new environmental protection requirements more quickly and identify emerging weaknesses earlier. With an Environmental Management System, you also benefit from a business point of view – the sensitization of employees alone often leads to savings in electricity and water consumption. By changing production processes which can often integrate the use of waste heat, the energy consumption and thus greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced.
ISO 14001 certification: the procedure
Prior to the certification, you must introduce the rules of ISO 14001 in your company and document them in an Environmental Management System. This contains specific goals for all areas in your company where raw materials, energy and water are consumed, greenhouse gases are emitted, and waste and wastewater are produced. The introduction of the Environmental Management System is followed by a pre-audit and a two-stage certification process. In the pre-audit, the appointed certifier checks whether your company meets the requirements and assesses the maturity of your Environmental Management System for certification. In the first stage, the auditor evaluates your documentation and whether he can approve your Environmental Management System for the second stage of certification. If he finds deviations from the standards for ISO 14001 certification in the first stage, you can make corrections accordingly or at least make them binding and plan them. After successfully completing the second stage, you will receive an audit report and your certificate. This gives you and your company the confirmation that you have introduced and apply an Environmental Management System in accordance with the rules of this internationally recognized standard. In order to maintain the certificate, your company must undergo a surveillance audit every year.
What does an ISO 14001 certification cost?
No one can give a general answer to the frequently asked question of “costs of ISO 14001 certification” because every company is different. Cost factors are the size of the company, the number of employees, as well as sites and the environmental risks arising from the business model. A distinction must also be made between internal and external costs: internal costs arise from the preparation, introduction, and implementation of the Environmental Management System as well as the documentation. The external costs accrue during certification. The certification bodies often answer the question about the costs with a questionnaire with which they survey the framework conditions of the company to be certified. On this basis, you will usually receive a fixed price offer.
ISO 14001 certification with Memex Consulting GmbH
We also work like this. First, we arrange a free initial meeting in which we get to know you and your company. You will then receive a binding offer for the preparation, establishment, and documentation of your Environmental Management System according to ISO 14001.
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