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One of the major strengths of environmental standards is they can be voluntarily self-adapted. For a business or an organization, opting for a standard makes it possible to plan ahead on requirements that will soon be made legal - and therefore compulsory.
When the standard implemented is focused on management, quality, products, systems, processes, metrics or testing, there are now a number of 'open source' applications enabling socio-economics actors to open their eyes to environmental realities without risk of handicapping their economic potential.
Indeed, leverage like environmental management system certification (ISO 14001), the NF Environnement mark, or the European Ecolabel proposed as part of AFNOR services can transform what looks like a constraint into an innovation initiative geared to generate competitive advantage.
« Environmental approaches increase employee productivity by 16% » , study by the Organization Performance Chair - Paris Dauphine
« Dual ISO 9001/ISO 14001 certification enhances economic performance » , Gilles Grolleau and Sanja Pekovic
« The adoption of environmental standards positively impacts recruiting quality » , study by the Organization Performance Chair – Paris Dauphine
« The benefits of ISO 14001 certification » , AFNOR Certification study (available in French only)
« AFAQ 14001 certification in four stages: a survey of certified companies » , AFNOR Certification study (available in French only)
The standards are drawn up by the organizations themselves and revised on a regular basis – generally every 5 years – to ensure they are still in line with objectives. The results of an international ISO survey showed a need to update the environmental standard created in 1996 to:
The revision timeline is provided for information only. It is aligned with the steps involved in drafting an international standard . It may change based on the discussions held between the Member States participating in the work of ISO/TC 207/SC 1/WG5.
Organizations will have 2 to 3 years (exact timeframe to be specified in 2014) to make the transition to ISO 14001:2015 certification. ISO 14001:2004 certificates will be valid until the end of the transition period. Note that a company that is undergoing ISO 14001:2004 follow-up may anticipate updating to the 2015 version during the transition period.
To ensure that you are fully prepared, the AFNOR Group will be assisting you throughout the upgrading of your management system: training, expert advice, assessment visit, documentation and so on.
The sole purpose of ISO 14001 certification is to implement and structure a flexible, cross-cutting Environmental Management System (EMS) that takes into account all environmental aspects, impacts and regulations.
The main mission of ISO 14001 is to help organizations and their employees control environmental aspects inherent in their activities, products and services. It therefore invites them to review their processes, anticipate emergency situations and verify their ability to act, react and monitor. It does requires time, but the benefits are worth the investment!
This depends on the management's commitment to implementing an environmental strategy. Many studies back up these arguments: committed managers mobilize employees around environmental values and make the environment an asset for their organization.
Furthermore, one study shows (study available in French only) that the development of a certified environmental management system only leads to an increase in performance if the company incorporates environmental aspects into its strategy. Performance is limited or non-existent if certification is merely undertaken for commercial purposes.
ISO 14001 boosts the performance of organizations. Its benefits are considerable: decreased water consumption, waste recovery, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, fewer raw materials, drop in gas and fuel consumption, increased employee productivity, savings on waste fees, more efficient facilities, access to ethical funds, green funds and Socially Responsible Investments, heritage preservation, improved investment planning, and more.
Over 60% of ISO 14001 certified companies achieve investment payback within 12 months! ( According to an AFNOR Certification study ) (available in French).
ISO 14001 has been designed to dovetail with other standards such as ISO 9001 ( Quality ) and OHSAS 18001 ( Safety ) - with which it forms a winning QSE trio-, not to mention ISO 26000 on social responsibility . ISO 50001 on energy management systems came into being more recently and there are many other good practices recorded in normative documents on the topics of eco-design , environmental performance , and environmental labelling .