ISO 14000 is a series of standards dealing with environmental management and a supporting audit programme. The ISO formulas the specifications for an Environmental Management System (EMS), guidance for its use and the standard against which it can be audited and certified. Many companies around the world still see standards as restrictive and imposing potential trade barriers. ISO 14001 offers a common, harmonized approach for use among all organizations, wherever they are in the world. Designing processes/equipment to include environmental considerations requires an
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evaluation of all aspects of a product or service (ideally, from “cradle to grave”, although this is not explicitly stated by ISO 14001). It is only through the establishment of an Environmental Management System (EMS) that an organization can, over time, monitor and control these aspects. In other words, an effective program of design for the environment requires an EMS.
The implementation of EMS may be hampered on account of the following factors:
3. No clear accreditation policy in the country to accredit certifying agencies
4. Cost of Certification is prohibitive, especially SMEs, find it difficult to bear the cost of getting auditors from abroad.
5. Recurring cost of certification. Every 3 years companies need to apply for re-certification. This is a recurring cost wherein the application fee also is payable every time. This fee itself is very high and this is a deterrent.
6. Lack of trained and qualified manpower e.g., auditors in the country. Industry would largely have to depend on manpower and resources outside the country for training, design and auditing the EMS.
7. No clear emphasis on developing/strengthening institutions within the country to promote implementation of EMS.
At enterprise level, the process of designing and implementing an effective EMS may be constrained on
LACK OF MANAGEMENT COMMITMENT
One of the major and common barriers to EMS implementation in any organization is the lack of top management commitment
2. Employees are unable to perceive the benefit of EMS and relate these to their own benefits
3. Lack of awareness about EMS
4. No emphasis/focus on training the employees to be able to meet the Environmental Policy Objectives
5. The organization structure is not clearly defines and key personnel are not made aware of EMS requirements.
6. Changing priorities for the company e.g., lower profits may result in shifting of priorities and hence EMS may not be implemented.
7. Documentation may prove a deterrent. Companies may feel that EMS leads to generation of too much paperwork and hence may not implement the system.
8. The system may remain on paper and be implemented only for audit purposes.
Bursa Malaysia Berhad accomplished double achievements when the exchange received certifications for conformance to the ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management System and ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management System standards. The certification panel of SIRIM QAS International Sdn. Bhd., the national certification body, approved the award of the certifications to Bursa Malaysia on Friday, 5 October 2007. The certifications also serve as an acknowledgement that Bursa Malaysia’s quality and environment management systems conform to internationally recognised standards.
The certificates will provide Bursa Malaysia the credibility to deliver higher quality products and services to the market as well as provide value to its shareholders. The aim is to widen trading access and efficiency via infrastructure improvement and bringing quality products and services to the market. This will certainly enable Bursa Malaysia to meet the requirement for growth and maintain our competitiveness.
Bursa Malaysia is the only exchange to be certified with ISO 14001 and the first exchange in the world to pursue these two certifications simultaneously. The certification was the outcome of an assessment of Bursa Malaysia’s quality and environment management systems in relation to the standards requirements, internal procedures and legal and stakeholder requirements.
In achieving these certifications, Bursa Malaysia underwent a stringent internal assessment and an external auditing process by SIRIM. The initiative took nine months for enhancement of existing procedural documentation and involved training for familiarization with the requirements of both standards.
The success in achieving this goal was due to the dedication and teamwork of everyone in the company. The decision to pursue both certifications simultaneously was because of the compatibility between the two standards and Bursa Malaysia’s position in influencing other entities to implement similar systems especially for monitoring environmental aspects and impact to their operations. ISO certification also supports Bursa Malaysia’s pursuit of continual improvement and its on-going commitment to provide its stakeholders an assurance of quality in fulfilling their requirements whilst optimizing environmental performance.
The ISO 14001 is intended to provide organizations with elements of an effective environmental management system for achieving their environmental and economic goals.
ISO 9001 defines requirements for quality management systems and focuses on meeting customer requirements. Both ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001:2004 are management system standards that were developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The standards apply uniformly to companies in any industry and of any size.
Understanding the Standard
ISO 14001 is an international voluntary standard that specifies the minimum elements for an environmental management system. It was published in 1996 by the International Organization for Standardization and is being taken up by organizations throughout the world at varying speeds.
The above is accepted as true by most people who are aware of the standard. Beyond these simple facts, however, there are many misconceptions about ISO 14001. For instance:
ISO 14001 will be a requirement for all companies.
As with ISO 9000, conformance to ISO 14001 may become a condition of doing business in certain countries, regions or markets. This process already has begun in some industrial sectors, such as the automotive and electronics markets. However, there are still a tremendous number of companies in business today that do not conform to ISO 9000, even though that standard is now 13 years old. Thus it is too early to tell how widely ISO 14001 will be required in the future.
Implementing ISO 14001 means getting a registration.
Many suppliers choose to demonstrate conformance to ISO 14001 through third-party certification. Some customers may require this. However, the standard itself considers a company’s self-declaration of conformance as an acceptable alternative. Further, some companies simply use the ISO 14001 model for internal purposes as a means to enhance their environmental performance.
ISO 14001 is just paperwork and won’t really help my company.
ISO 14001 is like many things in life – you get out of it what you put into it. The way a company implements the standard determines what benefits it receives. Many companies that have implemented ISO 14001 report a variety of benefits, including improved environmental performance, greater operating efficiency, cost reduction, improved employee awareness and enhanced public image, among others.
Implementing ISO 14001 means throwing out our current environmental programs.
ISO 14001 criteria specify “what to do,” not “how to do it.” Implementation approaches vary widely. There is no reason to think that your existing approach to environmental management must be put aside to satisfy ISO 14001.
Tackling Environmental Aspects
Ask a company that has implemented ISO 14001 which element was the most challenging, and they will likely say “Section 4.3.1: Environmental Aspects.” Ask this same company which element turned out to be the most rewarding and they might give you the same answer.
What does the standard require?
ISO 14001 defines an “environmental aspect” as an “element of an organization’s activities, products or services that can interact with the environment.” A note that follows this definition states that a significant environmental aspect is, logically, one that has or can have significant environmental impacts.
Section 4.3.1 requires that a company identify the environmental aspects of its products, activities and services in order to determine those that have or can have significant impacts on the environment. The standard also requires that this information be kept up-to-date.
While this concept may sound relatively simple, it often is difficult to implement. What some companies see as flexibility, others view as a lack of guidance on this important requirement.
It is important to note that a company is responsible only for identifying and assessing those environmental aspects that it can control and over which it can be expected to have an influence. This can be a relatively subjective determination. For example, can a company “control or influence” the potential misuse of its product by another party?
Why are environmental aspects so important?
Determining significant environmental aspects is a critical process step, since this determination is linked to many other elements of the standard. For example, significant aspects must be considered when setting environmental objectives and targets. Similarly, significant environmental aspects and related impacts must be factored into a company’s training program, the development of operational controls and the development of monitoring programs, to name a few ISO 14001 elements. For this reason, the determination of significant aspects can affect the overall effectiveness of an environmental management system.
What should your company do?
As noted previously, ISO 14001 specifies “what to do,” not “how to do it.” Approaches to determining significant environmental aspects vary widely. However, here are a few suggestions that SPI is offering its members:
First, make a list of your manufacturing processes, products and other activities. These can be grouped for ease of analysis.
Next, identify the ways in which these processes, products and other activities might interact with the environment. Such interactions include air emissions, generation of hazardous wastes and energy uses, among others.
Establish a set of criteria that you can use to assess the environmental significance of these impacts. Criteria might include the likelihood of impacts, the severity of the impacts, the frequency and duration of the impacts and their geographic scope.
Use a cross-functional team to implement this process.
Figure out what information you have on hand that can be used in this analysis. Useful sources might include MSDS, permits, environmental assessments and monitoring data, among others.
As you go through this process, you probably will find that some of your environmental aspects are regulated in some manner. However, you also might identify some significant aspects that are “beyond regulation.” Many companies find that such unregulated aspects are where their best cost-saving opportunities lie.
Obviously, environmental aspects are not the only challenges related to this new standard, and a great deal of information is needed to meet those challenges and take advantage of the standard’s benefits.
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