Many manufacturing organizations seek ways to reduce their environmental footprint and become more sustainable. Implementing an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) is one way to achieve these goals. ISO 14001 is an internationally recognized standard that outlines the requirements for an effective EMS, and it can help manufacturing organizations manage their environmental impacts and improve their sustainability practices systematically. ISO 14001 helps manufacturing organizations reduce their environmental footprint, improve sustainability practices, and meet international standards.
In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how you can successfully implement an ISO 14001 EMS in a manufacturing environment. To learn more about what ISO certifications should be considered for the Manufacturing Industry, read our blog about Manufacturing ISO Certifications.
Obtaining ISO 14001 certification can be highly beneficial for businesses, but successfully implementing an ISO environmental management system can be challenging. To streamline and optimize your implementation process, take a look at our top tips now:
Whether it's ISO sustainability standards, IT standards, or quality standards, it's vital to thoroughly understand the certification's requirements before commencing the implementation phase. While the ISO 14001 meaning and purpose may seem self-evident, you will need to meet numerous elements of the standard.
When you want to obtain ISO certification in the UK or any other country, it's easy to jump ahead and make assumptions about what the ISO 14001 2015 standard requires. To prevent this, managers should immerse themselves in the text of the standard at the outset. By doing so, you can ensure that your subsequent plan encompasses every aspect of the standard, thus increasing your chances of successfully obtaining the ISO 14001 certification first-try.
As part of the planning process, you'll need to assess the context in which your organization operates and its environmental aspects and impacts. Environmental aspects are the ways that your organization interacts with the environment, while impacts refer to the effects your company has on the environment.
For example, in manufacturing, a factory may use heat to facilitate industrial processes. The GHG emissions that are subsequently released can be classed as an environmental aspect, while the environmental impact of this process is the air pollution it causes. Although it's a complex and lengthy process, thoroughly analyzing your operations is essential in incorporating every aspect into your ISO environmental management system
Once identifying a company's environmental impacts, the ISO environmental management system standard requires organizations to use 'established criteria' to determine their significance. For example, you may want to assess:
By scoring your organization's environmental impacts using specific criteria, you can identify the most harmful aspect of your operations to the environment. Furthermore, this process will give you an understanding of how your operations interact with the environment on a macro level.
As the true environmental impact of your operations becomes apparent, you'll see clear opportunities to improve your environmental performance, as well as the potential risks that are present in terms of escalating environmental harm.
While implementing the ISO14001 UK standard, organizations should undertake an in-depth analysis to thoroughly identify every possible risk and opportunity, even if some risks and opportunities are likely evident at an early stage.
To secure your ISO 14001 certification, you'll need to set out environmental objectives for your organization, as well as an actionable strategy for how you can achieve them. This approach empowers your organization to reduce its environmental footprint and substantially increase the brand's sustainability.
Manufacturers can choose to capture the waste heat generated by industrial processes and use it to produce on-site, sustainable energy, reducing GHG emissions and enabling manufacturers to reduce their usage of fossil fuels.
Again, a thorough analysis will be required to determine what constitutes an achievable objective, as well as the most effective and cost-efficient methods for achieving these goals.
After thorough planning, you can implement your new environmental management system across your entire organization. However, clear communication should be a priority, as you will need the support of all members of your team to make your ISO EMS a success.
Ideally, you'll involve key team members in the planning phase and communicate upcoming changes with all staff so they are up-to-date with your organization's environmental policies. Furthermore, you will need to provide relevant team members with adequate training to ensure their awareness of the actions they need to take to comply with the incoming environmental management system.
An internal audit can be an advantageous way to identify potential gaps in your environmental management system, and it will enable you to take action before assessing your organization for its ISO 14001 certification.
However, conducting an objective internal audit can be challenging, particularly if you have been involved in or responsible for the planning and implementation of the environmental management system. For this reason, some organizations prefer to use external auditors from the outset as this provides an independent and unbiased assessment of a new EMS.
To ensure that you incorporate continual improvement into your EMS, consider it a key part of the ISO environmental management system standard. While managing your company's environmental aspects and impacts, you can often enhance and optimize immediate actions as the organization evolves.
Environmental issues are becoming increasingly important to industries, particularly in high-emitting sectors like manufacturing. As organizations face stringent environmental legislation, the need for an effective management system has never been more apparent.
Please read one of our other blogs on How to Develop an Energy Management System for ISO Compliance to learn more about this topic.
To find out more about how the ISO 14001 standard can benefit your organization or to arrange a third-party assessment for the ISO 14001 certification, contact QAS International now on 020 3198 9788.