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    ISO 14001
ISO 14001 is a standard for environmental management systems to be implemented in any business, regardless of size, location or income. The aim of the standard is to reduce the environmental footprint of a business and to decrease the pollution and waste a business produces. The ISO 14001 environmental management standards exist to help organizations minimize how their operations negatively affect the environment.

ISO 14001 was first published as a standard in 1996 and it specifies the actual requirements for an environmental management system. It applies to those environmental aspects over which an organization has control and where it can be expected to have an influence.

ISO 14001 is often seen as the corner-stone standard of the ISO 14001 series. It specifies a framework of control for an Environmental Management System and is the only ISO 14001 standard against which it is currently possible to be certified by an external certification body. However, it does not in itself state specific environmental performance criteria.
This standard is applicable to any organization that wishes to

  Implement, maintain and improve an environmental management system
  Assure itself of its conformance with its own stated environmental policy
  Demonstrate conformance
  Ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations

  Seek certification of its environmental management system by an authorized external certification body
  Make a self-determination of conformance

Why have these standards?

A set of international standards brings a world-wide focus to the environment, encouraging a cleaner, safer, healthier world for us all. The existence of the standards allows organizations to focus environmental efforts against an internationally accepted criterion.

At present many countries and regional groupings are generating their own requirements for environmental issues and these vary between the groups. A single standard will ensure that there are no conflicts between regional interpretations of good environmental practice.

ISO 9001 quality registration has become necessary to do business in many areas of commerce. Similarly, the ISO 14001 management system registration may become the primary requirement for doing business in many regions or industries.

Who do the standards apply to?

The standards apply to all types and sizes of organizations and are designed to encompass diverse geographical, cultural and social conditions. For ISO14001, except for committing to continual improvement and compliance with applicable legislation and regulations, the standard does not establish absolute requirements for environmental performance. Many organizations, engaged in similar activities, may have widely different environmental management systems and performance, and may all comply with ISO14001.

ISO Certification - How does it work?

In structure it is similar to ISO 9001 quality management and both can be implemented side by side. In order for an organization to be awarded an ISO 14001 certificate they must be externally audited by an audit body that has been accredited by an accreditation body.

In the UK, this is UKAS. Certification auditors need to be accredited by the International Registrar of Certification Auditors. The certification body has to be accredited by the Registrar Accreditation Board in the USA, or the National Accreditation Board in Ireland.

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