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Cover Your Environmental Responsibilities With ISO 14001

February 21, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 206

There are two types of reasons why a company would begin to work towards reducing their carbon footprint. The first set of reasons are voluntary and the second are involuntary. In the UK, there is a set of rules and regulations covered under Environmental Law which makes sure a company does not act unethically in respect to the environment. A breach of these laws may result major repercussions by way of a fine or even worse which is why some companies are forced to take notice about how their actions impact the environment. A simple way to cover your tracks is to implement an ISO 14001 certification.

The UK's environmental laws have been set to tie in with the international pacts signed by our government in the hope that we can build a more sustainable future by reducing the damage our businesses do to the environment. There are 5 main areas to environmental law which cover: emissions into the air, storage and disposal of business waste, storing and handling hazardous substances, discharges of wastewater and also packaging.

The aim of an ISO 14001 certification is to put an Environmental Management System (EMS) into action which carefully monitors your use of resources and energy consumption. The EMS works on a 'plan, do, check, act' methodology which means that no stone is left unturned. It involves looking at the different areas where savings can be made and continually checking that nothing has been left unnoticed.

This process can be a little bit daunting for a company tackling green issues for the first time, but it is important to remember that the ISO 14001 standard is there to guide you. You will also receive guidance from your ISO assessor who will come into your workplace to carry out an assessment before awarding you with the ISO 14001 certification. Generally, the assessor will carry out a 'gap analysis', this means that rather than starting every process from scratch your current processes are taken into account and they look to how your processes can be adapted to meet the standards - meaning less upheaval internally for you.

I've failed to mention why a company may voluntarily choose to implement an ISO 14001, which is a very valid point - having an ISO 14001 certification isn't compulsory so why would people choose to have one? The reason is that there are a range of benefits for a company when going through the certification process, whether it is improving reputation or reducing your energy consumption costs an ISO 14001 can be so much more than a way to cover your back when it comes to Environmental Law.

Mark Jones works for QMS International, a UK-based company providing ISO 14001 certifications worldwide. Read more about Environmental Law and ISO 14001 certifications here.

Source: EzineArticles
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