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The ISO 14000 is a set of standards which guide business organisations on how to implement good environmental practices. The most dominant standard in the ISO 14000 series is the ISO 14001, which deals with environmental management systems. The ISO 14000 standard outlines various environmental issues which business organisations need to comply with.
Organisations are required to refer to these policies before certification. The ISO 14000 standard helps organisations evaluate the impacts of their operations on the environment. The standard guides organisations on how to minimise negative impacts of their operations on the environment (Enarsson 2006, 86).
The Environmental Management System is the set of approaches and strategies to manage environmental programs by an organisation in an effective manner. The EMS helps organisations plan and allocate resources for effective environmental management.
This system facilitates an organisation to develop and implement policies which enforce good environmental practices in its operations. An organisation is able to evaluate the impact of its practices on the environment in a consistent manner (Whitelaw 2012, 97). This encourages an organisation to evaluate if its operations have a positive or negative impact on the environment.
Advantages of ISO 14000
The ISO 14000 helps an organisation implement positive environmental standards in its operations. The standard encourages organisations to implement appropriate practices which improve the awareness of the employees of the crucial environmental issues. An organisation, therefore, becomes more proactive in dealing with environmental issues related to its operations.
The standard helps organisations plan and organise activities targeted at conserving the environment. The standard makes an organisation channel its resources more efficiently to ensure that it conforms to high quality environmental practices. This makes a company more careful on how it disposes off its waste products to make sure that it maintains positive relations with communities living nearby.
The standard helps a firm improve the quality of goods and services, which it sells in the market. The firm includes environmental sustainability as part of its organisational culture. This promotes and contributes to the creation of strong brand image of a business organisation in the market and improves its reputation.
Many organisations and customers are aware of environmental issues and standards with which their products need to comply. Many companies are under greater scrutiny to follow environmental laws in their operations. Firms which adhere to environmental regulations receive positive ratings which boost their sales within the market.
The organisation is able to institute policies that help it become more efficient in the way it operates. A company that has been certified can implement renewable energy, recycling and water treatment facilities, and this helps reduce wastage of resources. This makes an organisation minimise the costs it incurs from wasteful processes which degrade the environment.
An organisation that observes the standard is likely to have a safe working environment for its workers. A company is likely to reduce emissions of toxic substances in its working environment, thereby improving the wellbeing of its employees. This reduces the amount of money an organisation spends, when treating sick employees.
An organisation that keeps to environmental policies reduces its vulnerability to lawsuits. A company which operations do not endanger the environment is likely to be safe from any environmental legal issues. Many laws have been introduced to enforce stiff penalties on companies that degrade the environment (Martin, and Verbeek 2006, 112).
Disadvantages of ISO 14000
The inspection period, which a company is undergoing, before getting certified with ISO 14000, can expose it to many risks. The process prior to certification can uncover confidential information about firm’s operations leading to negative public attitude. This can undermine a company’s reputation in the market.
Companies seeking for certification are made to stand up to a lot of complex procedures before they get certified. They have to go through needless bureaucratic processes which repel many companies from seeking certification. This makes many organisations consider the certification process cumbersome and time-consuming.
It is very costly to implement the standard. An organisation requires more technical personnel for it to be implemented successfully. If a company introduces more environment friendly equipment, it is likely to experience increased operational costs. This can have a negative impact on company’s profitability levels and performance.
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There is limited awareness among many people regarding the manner in which the standard operates. Many people do not know what the ISO 14000 stands for which means that the certification does not have a lot of significance for consumers. The standards do not engage communities who live close to companies getting certified.
The ISO 14000 does not compel organisations to state their annual performance, regarding environmental compliance. The standard does not oblige companies to publicise information that reveals the impact of their activities on the environment.
It is difficult to assess if a certified company follows the environmental regulations as stipulated by the ISO 14000. The standard lacks credibility because a company that fails to reveal the impact of its operations on the environment cannot claim to adhere to good environmental practices (Hye, Ofori, and Savage 2010, 103).
Enarsson, Leif. 2006. Future Logistics Challenges. Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business School Press.
Hye, Lin , Ofori, George and Victor Savage. 2010. Sustainability Matters: Environmental Management in Asia. London: World Scientific.
Martin, Paul, and Miriam Verbeek. 2006. Sustainability Strategy. New York, NY: The Federation Press.
Whitelaw, Kate. 2012. ISO 14001 Environmental Systems Handbook. Oxford: Elsevier.