Here’s a question we get often: As an enterprise-level business, do you need to pursue ISO 14001 certification?
The answer is… probably not. But if we flip that question and ask: Is it worth it to pursue ISO 14001 certification? Our answer would be absolutely, yes.
First, a few stats about ISO 14001 certification that might interest you:
- There were 346,189 certifications as of 2016
- Certifications have been issued in 159 countries
- The number of ISO 14001 certifications has grown by 70% since 2004
(Source: International Organization for Standardization)
What is ISO 14001 certification?
ISO certification is a way of demonstrating your compliance with ISO 14001. Although it’s not required, many companies choose to pursue certification through an accredited third-party. After all, if you’ve done the work, why not get credit for it?
What are the benefits of ISO 14001 certification?
It’s no secret that customers and shareholders are considering sustainability as a major factor in deciding which companies to support.
According to Nielsen, 52% of consumers say that they check labels before purchasing to ensure the brand is committed to positive social and environmental impact.
ISO 14001 certification is a way to set your company apart by signaling your commitment to the environment to buyers and shareholders.
It can also help you demonstrate compliance to legal or contractual requirements — in fact, some RFPs now require ISO 14001 certification.
And of course, since full compliance helps you reduce risk and use resources efficiently, many companies also see financial benefits.
What's involved in getting certified?
First of all, the International Standards Organization (ISO) doesn’t actually offer certification. So if you want to get certified, you’ll have to go through an accredited third-party.
The certification process itself is straightforward. Here are the basic steps in getting certified to ISO 14001:
- Develop and implement an ISO 14001 environmental management system
- Schedule an audit with an accredited third-party certification body
- If needed, fix any compliance issues identified in the audit
- Once you meet all the requirements, you’ll receive an ISO 14001 certificate
Many companies choose to work with an ISO 14001 consultant to guide them through the process. Although not necessary, working with an ISO expert can make the process smoother.
What if I’m already certified to ISO 14001:2004?
If you’re already certified to ISO 14001:2004, you’ll need to obtain a new certification to ISO 14001:2015. ISO has given companies 3 years to transition to the new standard. After October 2018, your old certification will no longer be valid.
What tools are available to help with ISO 14001 certification?
Environmental management software can help you keep track of all the information you need for compliance and certification.
A good environmental management software should provide:
- Tools to track air, GHG, water, and waste data
- A centralized calendar to track and manage compliance obligations
- Notifications of regulatory deadlines and other actions
- Mobile capabilities to capture data on-site, even in remote locations
- Scoring to compare and measure metrics for assessment elements
- Integrated corrective and preventative actions
- Dynamic dashboards to create complex environmental reports in minutes
From the feedback we’ve heard from our customers, companies agree that ISO certification is worth it.
Getting certified is a way to signal your environmental commitment, meet legal obligations, and even see some financial benefits. Best of all, if you’re already working toward ISO 14001 compliance, the process is easy.
For more advice on what’s involved in working toward ISO 14001, download our free ISO 14001 implementation checklist!