Go Green! All About the ISO 14000 Standard!


Did you know: 

62% of business owners are as likely or more likely to use a business that focuses on being green regardless of distance or required effort? (source:  ISO Quality Systems Ltd. website)

The ISO 1400 standard, when implemented correctly, will result in energy cost savings? 

The ISO 14000 standard is to a company's environmental practices what the ISO 9000 standard is to a company's quality practices.  While many manufacturing companies are familiar with and registered to the ISO 9000 standard, the opposite is often true when discussing ISO 14000. 

One reason the ISO 14000 standard is recognized and implemented less often is that it is not required by many OEM's to get new business, as is the case with the ISO 9000 standard.   However, even though it is not required to expand market share, the statistic above shows that implementing a sound ISO 14000 compliant system could most definitely result in new business. 

The ISO 14000 standard is described on the ISO Quality Systems Ltd website (www.isoqsltd.com) as "..a systematic and process driven approach to controlling those aspects of your business that have a significant impact on the environment." Most manufacturing companies have many operations that impact the environment such as lighting, paper or metal generation, process emissions, and process waste.  The ISO 14000 standard provides an approach to identifying and controlling such manufacturing operations. 

There are 3 stages of ISO 14000 compliance:

  1. Initial Assessment - This is a review of your manufacturing operations to identify all areas that have an impact on the environment.  This typically involves a thorough plant tour and review of utility bills and other energy usage documentation.  This can be done by internal environmental staff or by a third party provider.  Versatech's Data Solutions team and our partners can conduct such an assessment. 
  2. Documentation of System in a Manual - Similar to the ISO 9000 Quality Standard, your company will need to create policies, procedures and work instructions to satisfy the requirements of the standard.  Versatech has partners who can help you create such a manual. 
  3. Audit and Certification - A registrar will use an auditing process as with the ISO 9000 standard to rate your manual and documentation against the requirements of the ISO 14000 standard.  If your system is found to be compliant, with no major non conformances, you will be certfied to the ISO 14000 standard. 

So, why go to the effort to become certified?  Here are some of the benefits of certification:

  • Cost Savings:  The standard does require companies to set energy reduction goals each year, and formulate procedures and work instructions to support those efforts.  Versatech's Data Solutions team can help you identify opportunites for improvement in your energy usage, set up your energy reduction team, and design data reporting systems to help you gauge your progress.
  • Enhance Your Image:  Registration to the ISO 14000 standard is proof that you take sustainability seriously.  The statistic at the beginning of the article is proof that potential customers will be more likely to do business with you if you are certified. 
  • Reduction of the Impact of Your Manufacturing Activities on the Environment:  Sustainability of our environment and our ecosystems is vital to the earth's future.  By reducing the environmental impact of your processes, you help preserve our earth for generations to come!

If you have any questions about Versatech's role in supporting your efforts to become ISO 14000 certified, or to reduce energy costs through an energy assessment, strategic planning and data solutions, please contact the Data Solutions Program Manager, Greg Gillespie at greg.gillespie@versatech1.com.