For many firms and especially SMEs the thought of obtaining an ISO accreditation can be daunting and possibly even a distraction. Having embarked on the process we are already finding significant business benefits in terms of identifying better processes and getting everyone to work smarter.
Fundamentally, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) develops and publishes international standards designed to ensure that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality. For businesses, when they are applied as a strategic tool they will reduce costs by minimising waste and errors and increasing productivity. Looking forward, however, they are becoming increasingly important as government departments and other procurers are insisting on organisations being accredited by external bodies, such as ISO, as a means of guaranteeing quality of services/operations.
ISO standards can be applied across a wide range of business activities, including quality management, social responsibility, risk management, energy management and, in terms of our own sector, environmental management. With regard to best practice, however, we would encourage every business to consider using the ISO methodology to quality assure their environmental credentials.
ISO and the Environment
The ISO 14000 family of standards relates specifically to Environmental Management. ISO 14001:2004 focus on environmental management systems and can be certified by an external body.
ISO 14001:2004 maps out a framework that a company or organisation can follow to set up an effective environmental management system. It can be used by any organisation, regardless of its activity or sector. Using this standard can provide assurance to company management and employees, as well as external stakeholders, that environmental impact is being measured and improved.
The potential benefits of ISO Environmental Standards for your business include:
- Reduced cost of waste management
- Savings in consumption of energy and materials
- Lower distribution costs
- Improved corporate image among regulators, customers, employees and the public
- Improved confidence/trust in your business among customers, employees and the public
To find out more about ISO standards, as well implementing environmental management systems in SMEs, visit www.iso.org.
The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute professional or other advice.