ISO14000 FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions About the International Environmental Management System Standard

ISO14000 FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions About the International Environmental Management System Standard

Still being developed are portions of the standards that will address:

  • Environmental Performance Evaluation
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Environmental Labeling
  • Environmental Aspects in Product Standards
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To whom will ISO 14000 apply?

All types and sizes of organizations in all geographical, cultural, and social conditions.  At the moment, the electronics, automotive and chemical industries are leading adopters.

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Who developed the ISO 14000 standards?

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 207. The scope of TC 207 is standardization in the field of environmental management tools and systems. The standards apply to environmental management tools and systems; they are not product standards, nor do they specify performance or pollutant/effluent levels. Specifically excluded are:

  • Test methods for pollutants.
  • Setting limit values regarding pollutants or effluents.
  • Setting environmental performance levels.
  • Standardization of products.

TC 207 cooperates closely with ISO TC 176 on Quality Management (developers of ISO 9000) in the field of environmental management systems and audits.

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What is covered by ISO 14000?

Environmental Management System and Environmental Auditing address a wide range of issues, including:

  • Top management commitment to continuous improvement, compliance, and pollution prevention.
  • Creating and implementing environmental policies, including setting and meeting appropriate targets.
  • Integrating environmental considerations in operating procedures
  • Training employees in regard to their environmental obligations.
  • Conducting audits of the environmental management system.
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What benefits are anticipated from ISO 14000?

Benefits are many, including:

  • Reduced noncompliance, fines;
  • Intregation of environmental issues into other management systems, bring cost savings;
  • Market advantage by demonstrating commitment to environmental management via independent certification..
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How can a company get ready for ISO 14000?

  • Review and improve the company's current environmental management progra against the ISO14001 standard
  • Get committment from top management
  • Tally current environmental expenditures, including end-of-pipe control equipment, fines, and permit fees; many of which could potentially be eliminated.
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How do the ISO 14000 standards relate to the ISO 9000 standards?

Like ISO 9000, the ISO 14000 standards are management standards and not performance specifications. Like ISO 9000, ISO 14000 are voluntary standards expected to have a big influence in the marketplace.

The ISO 14000 standards take much of their approach, structure, and inspiration from the ISO 9000 standards. Just as ISO 9000 does not call for nor guarantee a quality product, ISO 14000 does not establish required performance levels nor set specific methodologies or targets.