ISO 14000

ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management Systems

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What is ISO 14000?

ISO 14000 came to be when it was felt that environmental standards were too important to be a small part of the original ISO 9000 standards. Therefore a separate management system was developed to internationally standardize environmental concerns into a complete and distinct EMS.

ISO 14000 does not prescribe methods nor policies, rather it simply provides an international standard for environmental management systems that guide organizations and assist them in their decision-making and planning and implementation.

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Why ISO 14000?

ISO 14000 is the key to effective management of increasingly complex environmental regulations.

Some of the benefits associated with ISO 14001 include:

  • Reduced manufacturing and compliance costs
  • Proactive management of environmental affairs
  • Reduced risk of regulatory violations
  • Reduced regulatory scrutiny
  • Positive public image
  • Reduced operating liabilities
  • Waste minimization
  • Prevention of pollution

Concept of Sustainability

“ISO 14000 and the Bottom Line” by Cecily A. Raiborn, Brenda E. Joyner, and James W. Logan, Quality Progress, November 1999, speaks to the issue of sustainability. It begins by defining the principle of sustainability as: “Something is right when it tends to maintain the earth’s life-support systems for us and other species and wrong when it tends to do otherwise.”… The earth being the bottom line.

Every business operating globally should realize their responsibility to future generations by including such preservation plans within their own strategic planning.

This committment should be reflected by:

  • Proactive environmental policy
  • Reducing the use of non-renewable resources
  • Increasing opportunities for recycling and reuse
  • Use of renewable resources
  • Minimizing pollution and overuse

Areas of Compliance

ISO 14000 Certification requires compliance in four areas:

  • Implementation of an EMS
  • Procedures are in place to assure compliance to existing laws and regulations
  • Demonstration of commitment to continual improvement
  • On-going commitment to waste minimization and prevention of pollution


ISO 14001 Implementation Initiatives of Local Governments

A two year project sponsored by the EPA, allowed seven municipalities, one county, and one state organization to complete an ISO 14001 EMS Initiative. The project ran from September 1997 to September 1999. Following are some of the comments at the completion of implemention.

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“The EMS system will support the City’s overall philosophy of constant improvements in efficient and effective service to its customers.”

“The project was viewed as an opportunity to improve internal and external communication; to organize, streamline, and consistently manage environmental issues and regulatory responsibilities.”

“We see the EMS as helping us remain competitive with the private industry. The municipality is on the cutting edge – for once it is the leader rather than the private sector.”

The ISO 14001 status improved… “Coordination on environmental issues, reduction of liability, local publicity, relationships with private business community.”

“The EMS has improved communications and the relationship between operations management and the union line workers.”

For additional information about the results of this project contact Craig Ruberti at