ISO 14001 – Benefits

ISO14001-benefitsIn a previous post I provided an overview of the environmental management system ISO 14001, discussing its purpose and the procedure needed to be taken so as to achieve certification. An extensive description of objectives and targets can be found here.

As a brief reminder, ISO 14001 is has a dual purpose. At a corporate level, it aims to help organisations regulate and reduce their environmental impact while improving their management control.

From a societal point of view, the goal is to promote sustainability, encouraging global trade by creating an ‘internationally legitimized system of standardization’ (Bansal and Hunter, 2002).

This article, written by guest blogger Charles El-Zeind, focuses on the benefits that arise for businesses that obtain the ISO 14001 certificate.

ISO 14001 Benefits

The benefits for firms that implement ISO 14001 can be divided into two categories.

ISO 14001 – Image benefits

There is an obvious metamorphosis on the image of a company becoming environmentally friendly. This kind of transition is a form of declaration that a business embraces environmental performance as an important aspect of their culture.

  • Consequently it reflects positively upon government regulatory agencies as the firm meets legal and regulatory requirements. This can result in an improved general support from the government, as the company shows commitment for future well-being
  •  There is also a positive reputational impact towards the public, as they could view such companies to be environmental leaders showing proof of social responsibility
  •  There is also the argument that profit will increase, as customers are more prone to purchase products or services carrying an environmental benefit
  • Finally, such a transformation can boost employee morale, motivation and participation. This concept has been also suggested by Dan Pink, as people feel more comfortable working for a company that ‘promises to make the world a little bit better’

ISO 14001 – Economic benefits

From a financial perspective, businesses that get the ISO 14001 certificate can experience greater profit due to cuts on expenses as a result of:

  • Less emissions, discharges, waste handling, transport and disposal costs. Incorporating a more sustainable approach, businesses generate a responsibility for efficient production with fewer errors that lead to less re-working on products and ultimately less waste
  • When businesses meet legislation it lowers their risk. Many companies have found that this leads to lower insurance premiums
  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Reduced material storage costs

In conclusion

It is therefore clear that by implementing ISO 14001 in a company’s strategy offers many benefits. Obtaining the ISO 14001 certification also signifies the desire of a company to discard the notion of ‘profit for profit’ which has characterised the industrial world for so many years.

Do It Yourself

The do-it-yourself manual, with steps to success and simple explanatory notes, designed for real companies. ISO 14001 Environmental Certification Step by Step has been written with smaller companies especially in mind. Dr. A.J. Edwards explains how to achieve the ISO 14001 standard aided by resources freely available from the accompanying website, including a sample manual and detailed sample registers and procedures. ISO 14001 Environmental Certification Step by Step: Revised Edition

About the Author Charles El-Zeind

Charles El-Zeind is passionate about communicating environmental issues such as climate change and sustainability. Charles is currently involved in a grassroots community project with the Fiveways and Hollingdean Transition Network and writes regularly for the Sustainable Business Toolkit. He holds a bachelor degree from the University of Brighton in Environment and Media Studies.

Leave a Comment:

LAMYAE BENNANI says October 28, 2012

I want first to thank you for your article… I have a question regarding other certifications like the GBB ( GREEN BUSINESS BUREAU) what is the difference between the two, what is the force of GBB and the ISO 14001, or what is the specific tools between the TWO? thank you for your clarification.

    Mark Whitman says October 29, 2012

    Thanks for your comment.
    ISO14001 is an international standard and by far the most commonly recognised environmental certification by procurement organisations. It is therefore very sort after. Unfortunately it is highly prescriptive and quite expensive to implement and maintain. It is better suited for larger organisations
    The Green Business Bureau is a US-centric environmental certification. It is less prescriptive and is likely to be less expensive to implement and maintain. It is therefore better suited for SMEs.
    At the end of the day if you are looking to tick a box in a tender response, you can’t beat ISO14001 (however, box ticking should not be the reason why you implement an environmental management system). The SBT website offers a very affordable, and low cost solution to green your business, See here.
    All the best,

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