ISO 14001 is an international standard for environmental management systems. It provides a framework for organisations to set up an effective environmental management system. The standard requires organisations to identify their environmental impacts, comply with applicable legal and other requirements, set environmental objectives and targets, implement programs to achieve these, and continuously improve their environmental performance. ISO 14001 certification demonstrates that an organisation has implemented a system to minimize harmful impacts on the environment and achieve sustainable operations.
ISO 14001 helps organisations proactively protect the environment by requiring a systematic evaluation of their processes, products, and services to identify and quantify ways they negatively impact the environment across metrics like emissions to air, discharges to water, waste generation, and resource consumption. By setting concrete goals to reduce ecological footprints with regard to factors influencing air, water, and land quality, biodiversity, and human health, ISO 14001 provides a framework for organisations to minimise contributions to issues like climate change, deforestation, and toxins in ecosystems. The standard mandates implementing operational controls, technologies, processes, and staff training to prevent pollution, drive energy efficiency, reduce material usage, facilitate recycling, and optimize resource conservation. By integrating environmentally responsible decision making across all levels of an organisation, ISO 14001 takes a lifecycle approach that aims to continually drive down environmental impacts across the design, development, implementation and disposal stages of organisational processes, products, and services, to protect both local ecosystems and the global environment.
The Aspects and Impacts process mandated within ISO14001 is the key mechanism for organisations to identify environmental risks associated with their in-scope activities. By identifying operations that can potentially or do have a significant impact on the environment, organisations can implement mitigation plans to either avoid, replace or reduce the environmental risk associated with the activities. If an organisation’s activities are an industrial process there may be requirements for permitting, and the legal requirement for the adoption of the ‘Best available techniques’ for preventing or minimising emissions and impacts on the environment. This approach can result in reduction of pollutants into the atmosphere, or discharges to the watercourse that propagate events such as, but not limited to, eutrophication which kills fish and other water life.
Richard Giles of Premier Foods in the UK confirmed that ISO14001 helped them to improve relationships with neighbours and to achieve “zero landfill” waste since March 2013. Nobukazu Matsudo of UPCON in Japan confirmed that ISO14001 helped engage their staff and increase motivation, whilst achieving development of their product which produces 90 % less CO2 emissions when compared to concrete replacement.
With 529,853 valid ISO14001 certificates registered to the end of 2022, this is the second most prolific management system certification standard in the world, and every one of these certified organisations has made a Policy commitment to prevent pollution and continually improve their environmental performance, adopting a preventive approach, and integrating their environmental objectives into the organisations business processes.
ISO 14001 helps to improve the performance of an organisation’s product or service delivery by taking a lifecycle perspective. This considers environmental impacts at all stages, from raw material extraction through production, distribution, use and end-of-life. By assessing these lifecycle impacts, ISO 14001 compels organisations to enhance longevity through sustainable design and materials selection. For example, designing products to be modular, repairable, and upgradable extends product lifespans. Choosing renewable, reusable, or recyclable materials also reduces waste. This lifecycle thinking helps organisations minimize their environmental footprints by keeping materials flowing in closed loops. Implementing closed-loop production systems powered by renewable energy demonstrates ISO 14001’s role in enabling circular business models. With lifecycle consideration at its core, ISO 14001 serves as a springboard for innovations that enhance environmental performance across entire product systems and value chains. Its emphasis on continual improvement positions sustainability as an ongoing journey rather than a definitive end goal.
ISO 14001 helps organisations shrink their carbon footprints and improve ESG performance by providing a structured framework to identify, manage, and continually reduce their environmental impacts across product lifecycles and operations. By requiring companies to analyse indicators of effectiveness such as their greenhouse gas emissions, setting specific reduction targets, control operational processes and energy use, manage supplier impacts, and continuously monitor their carbon footprint, ISO 14001 provides an internationally recognized framework to drive meaningful reductions in carbon emissions across both a company's direct operations and its upstream and downstream supply chain. Adhering to ISO 14001 equips and requires companies to take systemic and quantifiable actions to understand their climate impacts and implement programs to continuously minimize their carbon footprints. There are additional complementary and supplementary standards that can assist the related technical aspects of carbon reduction, such as the requirement for Carbon Management Plans.
The first UN Earth Summit occurred in 1992 it adopted Agenda 21 based on ‘Our Common Future’. ISO 14001 was published in 1996 as a direct outcome of ISO SAGE, and after a few reviews over the years, the UN published the globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the same time as the update of ISO14001 to the current version, in September 2015. 8 out the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals directly link to the focus of ISO 14001, such as those related to clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; responsible consumption and production; climate action; life below water; and life on land, as well as both mitigation of environmental impacts and adaptation to changes in the environment.
Watch this short video on the 17 SDGs:
If you’re ready to embark on your ISO 14001 journey, the get in touch with us today.
This photo captures the moment that Jenna Bell (CIOB Business development Manager (Ireland)) persuaded Tony Duff FCIOB that CBC recognition would be beneficial to SCS.
With many existing and prospective clients working within the construction and wider related sectors, Tony Duff decided to both support his professional body and further establish SCS as a trusted organisation operating within the construction sector.
Although not a traditional Charted Building Consultancy, as SCS do not provide advice, our professional services help construction organisations to refine their systems for service delivery through the accredited audit certification activities that our auditors perform, against the requirements of international standards (ISO).
The process of CBC application requires references and recommendations from clients and suppliers, and it is good to have feedback of people’s satisfaction with the services that we provide and indeed, how we conduct business. All our personnel are dedicated and work hard to stay abreast of sector developments and use CPD activities to maintain competence, adding value to all our treasured clients, with whom we nurture ongoing relationships.
If you are in the sector and would like to know more about how management system certification could help your organisation, please get in touch today.
SCS are delighted to confirm that Wilton Recycling have been awarded registration in accordance with the requirements of the ISO9001 Quality, ISO14001 Environmental, and ISO45001 Occupational Health & Safety, Management Systems, across their sites at Kiffa, Co Cavan (HQ), Naas, Co Kildare and Ballycoolin, Dublin on 13th September 2023.
Founded in Co. Cavan as a family run business, Wilton Recycling provide Waste Collection, Skip Hire, Recycling and Material Recovery Services, as well as Demolition activities, throughout the heart of Ireland, Northern Ireland, UK and further afield. For more information on their services, you can visit their website.
In line with their sustainable growth ambitions, Wilton’s management contacted SCS on referral from another satisfied SCS client in the Waste Sector. With multiple activities across multiple sites for multiple standards, we produced a proposal based on a sampling plan and implemented an initial two stage certification audit process to visit all sites and processes, whilst engaging as many Wilton personnel in the process as possible.
“Wilton Recycling Management continue to develop the company’s profile throughout the recycling industry and part of that journey was to achieve certification to ISO standards 9001, 14001 & 45001. I was given the job to prepare the sites for the Staged audits and ensure that all the requirements in the standards were complied with. Following completion of stage one audits by SCS and with the help of my colleagues Ashling Fingleton (Wilton Recycling) Mairead Farrell (Qcservices) and the site employees we were ready for the stage two audit. Wilton Recycling stepped up to the mark and the company was recommended by SCS to receive the integrated management system for ISO 9001, 14001 & 45001. This is a great achievement for the company and many thanks to all for their help and commitment” Michael Whelan H&S Manager Wilton Recycling.
To achieve certification across three diverse sites with multi- faceted permit and licensing obligations for three sets of standard requirements, is to be commended. This could only be achieved through the focused leadership and commitment of senior management and their competent site managers.
“What truly sets Wilton apart is their strong leadership and unyielding commitment to these standards. Throughout the audit process we’ve witnessed their active engagement with senior management and their genuine care for the audit process, along with a remarkable level of compliance across all aspects of their operations.” Danielle, Lead Auditor, SCS.
It is refreshing to hear Wilton personnel acknowledge that the achievement of certification is just the beginning of their journey in pursuit of improvement for the benefit of internal and external stakeholders. We note by the time we got together for this photograph, Wilton Recycling are looking forward to the imminent opening of their newly built SRF plant in Corranure, Co. Cavan.
We wish everyone at Wilton Recycling well in their respective activities and are grateful for the opportunity to play a small part in assisting the realisation of their strategic objectives.
For more information on how certification could help your organisation please visit our website.
On 3rd August 2023 the ISO Technical Committee (TC) 176 Sub-Committee (SC) 2 published results of the recent ballot on initiating a revision of ISO 9001.
ISO/TC 176/SC2 is the ISO Subcommittee responsible for the development of ‘ISO 9001 Quality management systems – Requirements’, the most widely used International Standard in the world.
The results of voting indicate a simple majority in favour of option a) “Start a revision with the scope aligned to the attached draft design specification”.
The next steps are:
In advance of this vote ISO TC 176/SC2 established a task group TG05 (December 2022) to oversee the preparation of a design specification for the next edition of ISO 9001 so that when this vote confirmed the requirement to commence revising the standard, the project can now be expedited as quickly as possible.
Having Category A liaison status with ISO TC176, The CQI (Chartered Quality Institute) conducted a member survey to examine the fitness for purpose of ISO 9001:2015, as well as the priority areas for inclusion in any future revision, as identified by both the CQI Standards Coordination Committee (SCC) and ISO/TC 176/SC 2/TG5. There were 820 responses and whilst not conclusive, 50% called for change or remained uncertain whilst 50% of respondents expressed agreement that the standard is fit for purpose. The Survey results support the need for revision activity to commence.
SCS SMT would align with the ‘affirm’ vote as the 2015 version appears to be an effective framework for Quality Management with no major flaws, and capacity within the requirements to reflect on and assess in line with new and emerging technologies, and accommodate remote working, and global moves toward more virtual and global platforms etc.
45,572 individual ISO9001 certificates were issued to end of 2022 (ISO Survey data) within the UK & Ireland, and all changes have a cost impact on the certification bodies, the certified entities and all the related sector specific schemes and related standards.
Comments in support of the revision appear to be regarding being more prescriptive around risk and clarifying other areas such as leadership etc so they can be more effective. The effectiveness of implementation may not be because of the standard, but perhaps reflects more on understanding and the impact of accredited certification auditing.
However, with ISO9001 remaining the most popular management system standard around the world and over 1m certificates registered, we recognise that regular revisions and updates help the standard remain current and enhance its relevance, continuing to add value to businesses, commerce, and the wider society. Previous comments suggest there may be a desire to include criteria such as sustainability and climate change within any new requirements, recognizing the impact of global changes since 2020.
Despite TG5 producing a design specification for the next edition of ISO 9001 in March 2023 and ISO/TC 176/SC2 confirming in early August, it is not clear that the Working Group has been established (Oct 2023) as there is currently no formal standards development projects on the ISO/TC 176/SC2 website. No doubt however that work is beginning behind the scenes to appoint a convenor.
As always, we will embrace the change and look forward to providing input to the development of the standard through our membership of ABCB and engagement as members of the CQI.
When you are going through your certification cycle, there are 5 steps that you need to be aware of.
The Stage 1 Audit objectives are to review your management system documented information, evaluate site-specific conditions, and through discussions with your personnel, determine preparedness for stage 2.
Stage 1 provides a focus for planning stage 2 and that the level of implementation of the management system substantiates progress to Stage 2.
The Stage 2 Audit objectives are to determine the extent of conformity of your management system with the relevant standards’ requirements, as well as evaluating its effectiveness in meeting its specified objectives and the identification of areas of potential improvement.
A detailed report will present findings for or against recommendation for certification against the applicable standard(s).
At Stage 2, if there is a high level of conformity the auditor will likely recommend certification. The auditor does not award the certificate, but instead makes a recommendation, which is verified by a decision maker who reviews that the process has validity with all scope elements and requirements addressed in the audit report. Certificates are authorised for release by the Certification Secretary, and they are issued with registration and expiry dates covering 3 years, with the certificate’s validity subject to having planned and periodic audits to maintain this status. Details of the Certification are registered on both the UKAS Certcheck and the Global IAF CertSearch Databases in order that your individual certification profiles can be validated by businesses and governments domestically and internationally.
The Surveillance Audit objectives are to determine the conformity of your management system is being maintained. Surveillance Audits differ from Initial and Recertification Audits in that not all requirements or activities need to be included in the audit. The lead auditor can plan the audit cycle to take a deeper dive into some areas of the standard or scope of the organisation in order to add more value in that area, particularly if it’s of higher risk. However, at the next surveillance visit this process or activity may be omitted to provide an opportunity to look at a different aspect of the certification.
The Recertification Audit is the start of your next certification cycle, and it will evaluate the continued fulfilment of all requirements of the management system standard, including a review of the effectiveness of the management system in its entirety in the light of internal and external changes and its continued relevance and applicability to the scope of certification. On completion of a successful audit and review, the certificate will be re-issued for a further three years, and the surveillance programme will begin again.
The Taylor Group have been in business since 2010 with many years of experience before then, helping customer in the construction sector with extensive services including Asbestos Removal, Building Maintenance, Refurbishment, Roofing and Groundworks.
The addition of Certification against the requirements of ISO9001 Quality Management Systems is another indicator of the organisation’s continuing commitment to their existing and future customers, as well as being reflective of their intent to conduct their business responsibility.
The Taylor Group Managing Director, Mr. John Jameson, stated:
I am writing to express my sincere gratitude to SCS for their outstanding customer service in helping Taylor Group achieve ISO 9001 certification.
From my initial contact with SCS, I was impressed with the level of professionalism and expertise that I encountered. The SCS team were always available to answer any questions and provide us with the information that we needed to achieve certification and add value to our Quality Management system.
The entire process of achieving certification was smooth and efficient. I am very pleased with the results of the certification process as I believe we are more efficient and our quality system is more effective, helping us to improve our customer service and to build stronger relationships with our clients.
I would highly recommend SCS to any company that is considering pursuing ISO certification. They are a professional and experienced organization that will provide you with the support that you need to achieve your goals.
The initial certification process is always part of a change process which brings its own complexities for the audit process, but the SCS auditor reflected on the high level of cooperation from the client auditee team and their understanding of both the internal and external benefits to be gained from accredited certification of their ISO9001 Quality Management System.
Everyone at SCS wishes the Taylor Group every success as they continue their improvement journey .