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Environmental management – The ISO 14000 family of International Standards

Environmental management – The ISO 14000 family of International Standards

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Published by John Henry Wells

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Published by: John Henry Wells on Jan 15, 2010
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Environmental management
The ISO 14000 family of International Standards
ISO has a multi-faceted approach to meet-ing the needs of all stakeholders from busi-ness, industry, governmental authorities andnongovernmental organizations, as well asconsumers, in the field of the environment.ISO has developed standards that
help organizations to take a proactiveapproach to managing environmentalissues: the ISO 14000 family of environmental management standardswhich can be implemented in any  type of organization in either public or private sectors – from companies toadministrations to public utilities.ISO is helping to meet the challenge
of climate change with standards for greenhouse gas accounting, verificationand emissions trading, and for measuring the carbon footprint of products.ISO develops normative documents
 to facilitate the fusion of business andenvironmental goals by encouraging theinclusion of environmental aspects inproduct design.ISO offers a wide-ranging portfolio of 
standards for sampling and test methods to deal with specific environmentalchallenges. It has developed some 570International Standards for the monitoringof such aspects as the quality of air, water and the soil, as well as noise, radiation,and for controlling the transport of dangerous goods. They also serve in a number of countries as the technical basis for environmental regulations.ISO is the International Organization for Standardization. It has a membershipof 160 national standards institutes fromcountries large and small, industrialized,developing and in transition, in all regions of  the world. ISO’s portfolio of more than 18 000standards provides practical tools for all threedimensions of sustainable development :economic, environmental and societal.ISO standards for business, governmentand society as a whole make a positivecontribution to the world we live in. They ensure vital features such as quality,ecology, safety, economy, reliability,compatibility, interoperability, conformity,efficiency and effectiveness. They  facilitate trade, spread knowledge, andshare technological advances and goodmanagement practice.ISO develops only those standards thatare required by the market. This work iscarried out by experts on loan from theindustrial, technical and business sectorswhich have asked for the standards, andwhich subsequently put them to use. Theseexperts may be joined by others with relevantknowledge, such as representatives of government agencies, testing laboratories,consumer associations and academia, andby nongovernmental or other stakeholder organizations that have a specific interest in the issues addressed in the standards.Published under the designation of International Standards, ISO standardsrepresent an international consensus on thestate of the art in the technology or goodpractice concerned.
ISO in briefISO and the environment
Environmental Management 2009
ISO International Standards and relatednormative documents provide consumers,regulators and organizations in both publicand private sectors with environmental toolswith the following characteristics :
 Technically credible
as ISO standardsrepresent the sum of knowledge of a broad pool of international expertise andstakeholders
Fulfil stakeholder needs
as the ISOstandards development process is basedon international input and consensus
Facilitate the development of 
uniform requirements
as the ISOstandards development process is builton participation by its national member institutes from all regions of the world
Promote efficiencies
when the samestandards are implemented acrossmarkets, sectors, and/or jurisdictions
Support regulatory compliance
when the standards are used to meet marketand regulatory needs
Enhance investor confidence
 because the standards can be used for conformity assessment such as by audit,inspection or certification. This enhancesconfidence in products, services andsystems that can be demonstrated toconform to ISO standards and providespractical support for regulation.Organizations around the world, as well as their stakeholders, are becoming increasingly aware of the need for environmentalmanagement, socially responsible behaviour,and sustainable growth and development. Accordingly, as the proactive managementof environmental aspects converges withenterprise risk management, corporategovernance, and sound operational and financial practices and performance,International Standards are becomingincreasingly important for organizations towork towards common and comparableenvironmental management practices to support the sustainability of their organizations, products, and services.Furthermore, governments and regulatory bodies are increasingly looking to ISOstandards to provide a framework to ensurealignment and consistency both nationally and internationally.
Environmental managementand sustainability 

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