How is ISO 14001 beneficial for the engineering sector?

While many standards can often be viewed as red tape, Simon Taylor looks at the engineering, environmental and monetary benefits of ISO 14001.

What is the ISO 14001 certification?

In a series of standards published by the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) for organisations, this certification is strictly related to environmental managements standards. Linked together with the ISO 14000, the 14001 maps a framework that a company, business or organisation can follow and by doing so, they can set up an effective environmental management system.

It can be beneficial in any organisation regardless of sector or industry. In the series of ISO 14000, these standards are not designed to aid or reinforce any environmental laws and adhering to the standards is voluntary, but can be extremely beneficial.

In the series of standards, what role does 14001 play?

Through the series of standards, the ISO 14001 could be said to be the most vital. The certification assists in development of the EMS (environmental management system) for small to large businesses. By having a EMS, this can provide a systematic approach to any issues regarding environmental subjects. 

The specific approach of the ISO 14001 is based on a “Plan, Check, Do, Review, Improve,” cycle. This strategic cycle helps in the early stages of any organisation becoming ISO 14001 compliant, and helps in all ways of improving; from correcting errors, to top management, reviewing and continually finding ways to improve the EMS. 

Benefits of the certification

The ISO 14001 standard is the only standard that allows an organisation to be registered or certified in the subject matter. It is a huge benefit to help a business make their day to day operations much more sustainable by saving money, improving brand reputation, engaging employees and building resilience against possible uncertainty and change.

Whether developing or formalising your EMS, this certification can deliver a more regulatory compliance and increase supplier demands and requirements. Key benefits include identifying costs with an emphasis on resources, waste and energy management, decrease public liability insurance costs and growing access to potential partners and customers.

Demonstrate compliance

By showing your compliance with future and current statutory and regulatory requirements, you can show your expertise and knowledge to customers and partners. By relating back to this standard, you can enable yourself and your team to effectively carry out day-to-day tasks at a high standard, as well as increasing the level of economic strategy and efficiency. 

Through demonstrating this elevated level of knowledge and standard, you can improve company reputation and the confidence of stakeholders through strategic communication. This is specifically beneficial in the engineering sector, as it shows your acquaintance with the legislation; reinforcing your engineering knowledge and concern for economic impact.

The ISO 14001 is a highly-recognised certification within most industries and is regarded as a high accolade for a business to receive. So, as well as public perception rising, other businesses within the industry is sure to recognise this. Research shows that trust in a company can increase by up to 60% if you abide by and hold the ISO 14001 certification.

Economic and operational improvements

ISO 14001 can also assist in management, improvement and operations of a company. By improving the business and implementing more efficient procedures, you can streamline the system and achieve higher productivity within staff base. Consistency is bound to advance through this certification; consistent standards are vital to the growth of engineering and other related sectors when looking to build a reliable and reputable brand.

Engineering and the environment

Engineering and environment can go hand in hand and if they work in synchronisation it can benefit your work. The ISO 14001 can help assess the control you have throughout lifecycle stages. By considering the process of your supply chain and evaluating the product or services down to the details of transport etc. you can be in control and use the EMS to your advantage. By being ISO 14001 certified, you can improve product and service design, reduce costs and decrease environmental impact. From identifying opportunities for reusing and recycling, you can deduct your waste in the workplace by 57%.

The ISO 14001 standard can provide guidance and assistance on many aspects of the business and can benefit a workplace hugely. From storage to distribution to product development, and manufacturing, you can reduce your impact on the environment, assert knowledge, growth, compliance and increase reputation.

Although an industry-popular standard, there is a growing interest in including the certification in tenders for public-private partnerships. Evidence, in terms of environmental quality has been shown to reap the benefits from both sides. From being primarily used to assist companies with a management control framework, it can result in positive environmental impacts. 

In the engineering industry, this is vital due to the environmental influence the industry can have. Due to rapid changes in the industry, there has been drastic changes to the environment. Specialists in the engineering industry should always be striving to lessen their carbon footprint in line with the ISO 14001 certification.

Simon Taylor is the sales manager for European Springs, specialists in spring manufacturing.