New Series: ISO 14001, Corporate Sustainability and Your QMS

Thank you for your patience as this week’s article was delayed due to the upgrade of the support desk.  We are also preparing to share this blog content on a new BIZPHYX Facebook page!  As we begin this new 5-part series on ISO 14001, corporate sustainability and what it means to your QMS, we’re excited to announce that in late 2011, we have several new clients who will be certifying to ISO 14001.

So what is ISO 14001 and what role does it play in corporate sustainability?

Researchers estimate that as much as 50% percent of a company’s carbon footprint stems from its supply chain.  Therefore, it’s no surprise that businesses are looking to improve their sustainability scorecards and are turning the spotlight on their supplier networks.  As a result, several new supply chain management trends are emerging.  Corporate sustainability it seems, is the next evolution of corporate social responsibility (CSR).  Corporate sustainability describes business practices built around social and environmental considerations. It is a business approach that creates long-term consumer and employee value by not only creating a “green” strategy aimed towards the natural environment, but also taking into consideration every dimension of how a business operates in the social, cultural, and economic environment.

Under the umbrella of this business approach can rest implementation of an environmental management system or EMS.  The ISO 14000 family addresses various aspects of environmental management. ISO 14001:2004 provides the requirements for an EMS and ISO 14004:2004 gives general EMS guidelines.  While ISO 14001 does not specify levels of environmental performance, the intention of ISO 14001 is to provide a framework for a holistic, strategic approach to the organization’s environmental policy, plans and actions.

Because ISO 14001 provides a foundation for corporate sustainability, many companies decide to implement ISO 14001 independently or maintain a dual certification to ISO 9001 and/or TL 9000, the telecom quality management system, thereby addressing both environmental and industry specific quality requirements.

Next week, we will outline the requirements of ISO 14001 and during the rest of the series we’ll draw distinctions between ISO 14001 and recycling standards like e-Stewards and R2. Additionally, we will cover why ISO 14001 is the EMS of choice and what certifying to the standard does for your business from both an operations and marketing perspective.  If you require more immediate information on ISO 14001 implementation contact