In 2015 the new standard for 14001 will be introduced, bringing with it significant change in the way a business will have to view and apply its Environmental Management System (EMS). This blog series provides insight into the key areas that businesses 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 650 companies.
Our first blog looks at whether leadership is ready to drive value from the EMS, you can subscribe to the full series here.
Falling short at the top
It is becoming quite clear that the biggest change (and the biggest challenge) presented by the new version of ISO14001 is the renewed emphasis on leadership and commitment. 80% of those who have completed our ISO14001:2015 gap assessment tool do not have sufficient top level support to fully meet this new requirement.
This is not unexpected. We know that during its implementation, an ISO14001 certified management system receives much attention from top management. However, a different story often unfolds once the certificate has been framed on the wall. Attention diverts elsewhere and the EMS can become marginalised - often under the stewardship of one or two people.
To lead is to succeed
We can’t underestimate how vital leadership will be in transitioning to the new standard. In itself leadership is a specific requirement but without it organisations will fail to implement the other changes to the standard. Often leaders have lost interest in environment, mainly because the standard is being maintained sufficiently. But is it delivering real business value? Is it managing threats associated with climate change and resource scarcity? Is it grabbing hold of the opportunity for a greater demand in low carbon products? Ultimately is your EMS contributing to the long term success of your business? If the answer is no then your top management needs to revaluate the business case for your EMS.
Where to start?
Your top management needs to understand what an EMS can do to drive operational and strategic business value. For EMS Managers you need to help your leaders lead, help them understand and help them learn. A relatively new IEMA accredited course Leading with Environmental Sustainability, is a good place to start. This half day session re-examines the business case with your top management and evaluates whether the current strategy is fit for purpose.
You can find out more about the changes to ISO14001:2015 at our training courses Transitioning ISO14001:2015 throughout England and Wales. You can also complete our 10 question gap assessment tool, to find out where you need to focus your transition plan.
Subscribe to EEF’s 14001:2015 alerts to keep ahead of developments with the new standard.