ISO14001:2015 - an environmental revolution

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The new ISO14001 standard will be introduced this year, bringing with it significant changes in the way a business will have to view and apply its Environmental Management System (EMS). This blog series will continue to provide insight into the key areas that you will need to address, written by Greg Roberts, EEF Consultant and UK expert on the International ISO committee and informed by the results of our gap assessment of over 800 companies.

This second blog in the series looks at the true value of an EMS and how this new standard can revolutionise how your business views its EMS.

EMS adds real value to 90% of organisations

Only one in ten of those who have completed our ISO14001:2015 gap assessment tool felt that their EMS delivers no or little improvement to their organisation. So, in 90% of cases an EMS is adding value to the organisations. Some cited meeting customer requirements or assisting with legal compliance as the only improvements but half of respondents went further, stating that they have also benefited from incremental operational improvement such as a reduction in energy use. These business benefits are testament as to why the UK has over 15,000 ISO14001 certificates and this number is increasing. 

But we’re only scratching the surface

There is no doubt that organisations are under increasing pressure from a changing environment and societal expectation. Climate change, resource scarcity and depletion of natural capital are just three issues that organisations will have to manage to ensure they remain resilient. Although these can all be threats to an organisation, they can also be an opportunity, for example the growth in Low Carbon Environmental Goods and Services (LCEGS). However, only 20% of respondents stated that their EMS was helping to take advantage of these opportunities and manage these long term threats to their organisations. The new standard will change this.

The changes to ISO14001 offer us a once in a decade opportunity to revolutionise our EMSs so that they deliver real business value. The pending launch of the new standard will allow us to grab the attention of our leaders from across functions and departments and demonstrate why a longer term strategy is required and how the EMS is so important in delivering this strategy. 

A great way to reach leaders and press home the potential in your EMS is through cross functional senior management teams sitting the IEMA Leading with Environmental Sustainability course. This half day session re-examines the business case with your top management and evaluates whether the current strategy is fit for purpose.  Once this case for action is established the senior team will then be committed to develop a longer term sustainability vision for the organisation, which the EMS can then deliver. It also means that your job in implementing the ISO14001 changes will be that much easier!   

Author

This person has now left EEF. Please contact us on 0808 168 1874 or email us at enquiries@eef.org.uk if you have any questions.

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