Achieving a balance between the environment and society has become the most important factor in ensuring the viability of the planet and the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
All peoples’ expectations for sustainable development led to stricter legislation on the environment, pollution, resource use, waste disposal, climate change, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity.
Thus, environmental management issues are becoming increasingly important for companies and their business planning, to contribute to sustainability.
The above, urge companies to adopt a systematic approach regarding the environmental impact of their activities, through the implementation of an Environmental Management System.
Environmental Management is defined as the ability of a company to effectively control its environmental footprint, by applying a set of business processes and practices that will continuously improve its environmental performance.
ISO 14001 is the International Standard which is a guide for any business that wants to identify its environmental aspects and impacts, develop practices for decreasing its environmental impact, form contingency plans, monitor compliance with legal requirements, and organize its resources accordingly.
This standard requires evaluation and improvement of the environmental measures taken by a company, implementation of the relevant procedures, awareness of personnel and compliance with environmental legislation.
The standard refers to the characteristics of an Environmental Management System, from a company’s point of view and not to its actual performance / assessment for the environmental impact (just like the ISO 9000 series standards which refer to the Quality Management System and not to the quality level of the products). Compliance with the standard is not mandatory of course, but compliant companies can either document the compliance or seek certification by a relevant Certification Body.
The purpose of the ISO standard is to support environmental protection and achieve a balance between social and economic needs.
The benefits of implementing an Environmental Management System can be summarized as follows:
The implementation of the ISO 14001 standard by a company leads to relevant certification, following an audit carried out by a Certification Body. The Environmental Management System can be developed in parallel or supplement to other Management Systems, creating a Total Management System with reference to Quality, Environment, Occupational Health & Safety, Information Security, etc.
For more information about Management Systems, see the “Information Material” section.