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What is ISO 14001 Certification?

By Eric Tallberg
Updated May 17, 2024
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In today’s green world, organizations, businesses, and manufacturing facilities can demonstrate environmental responsibility by obtaining ISO 14001 certification. This certification is proof that an organization or business has dedicated its management system to environmental awareness. It has been made obvious that obtaining this ISO 14001 certification results in recognition by the public, by governments, and by prospective customers, which, of course, leads to further profitability.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) resulted from the 1992 Rio Summit on the Environment. This organization, in 1996, dedicated a group to study methods by which any sort of organization throughout the spectrum of all industrial and service segments could be managed in an environmentally beneficial way. Beginning with BS 7750, a series of national standards emerged from this study, culminating in the internationally recognized ISO 14000 series.

Essentially, the ISO 14000 standardization series establishes standards, guidelines, and policies governing correct environmental management by certified organizations. ISO 14001 is, thus far, the most recognized of the ISO 14000 series, as well as the sole ISO standard that can be certified. In an era of environmental consciousness, this certification is crucial for a business or corporate entity to remain competitive in not only a national market, but the international market.

The certification process is undertaken by a third party uninvolved in any way with the organization seeking certification. A sizable number of certification organizations, known as auditors, will provide materials, mentoring, and monitoring to ensure that organizations recognize and comply with the various management guidelines. Once the standards have been met, the auditing organization will certify the applicant organization as ISO 14001-compliant.

A number of well-known companies that have received ISO 14001 certification in recent months include Airbus Industries, Fujitsu Limited, and several divisions of Sony Corporation. Each of these conglomerates are thereby recognized as having implemented and maintained management systems that are environmentally responsible, as well as fiscally sound.

ISO 14001-certification indicates that organizations, businesses, or corporate entities have identified and assessed the environmental risks of various management procedures, and have developed methods and action plans to deal with them. Certification requires adherence to specified requirements of environmental management. This assures uniformity of corporate-wide environmental policies.

The benefits to an organization in obtaining of ISO 14001 certification are numerous. The organization is better able to manage finances by conservation of materials and energy. Additionally, the certified organization improves its public perception through demonstrated responsibility in business and manufacturing practices. Finally, ISO 14001 certification facilitates relations with municipal governments and, thereby, eases restrictions on local dealings.

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Discussion Comments

By anon153092 — On Feb 16, 2011

The statement "The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) resulted from the 1992 Rio Summit on the Environment." is wrong. The ISO was founded much earlier than that (in 1947). Presumably, what was intended here was to say that the ISO 14001 standard was initially mooted after the Earth Summit in Rio.

By Ciaran — On Nov 19, 2010

I think it is important to point out that organizations from any sector can be certified to ISO 14001. I would recommend that anybody who is interested in learning more about ISO 14001 certification should contact an accredited ISO 14001 certification body for more information.

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