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This research paper illustrates the findings on the implementation of ISO 14001 by the National Paints Factories Company Limited, which is based in Sharjah, the United Arabs Emirates (UAE). The first section illustrates the results obtained through the interview conducted. A number of questions were asked during the interview as illustrated in the appendix section. A comprehensive analysis and evaluation of the issues identified from the data collected is outlined in the discussion section. The final section entails a conclusion and a set of recommendations that firms should consider in implementing ISO standards.
The managing director asserted that the National Paints-Sharjah is ISO 14001 certified. In his response, the director argued that the firm is cognisant of the increased association of climate change with pollution emanating from business operations. Subsequently, the firm has implemented measures aimed at curbing environmental pollution. The director cited the adoption of alternative sources of energy as one of the environment protection measures that the firm has adopted. Additionally, the firm ensures that its waste is effectively disposed to avoid land, water, air, and soil pollution.
When asked the regarding the firm’s ISO certification, the respondent argued that the National Paints-Sharjah has received ISO 14001:2004 accreditation from BM Trada. The respondent asserted that the certification illustrates the National Paints’ commitment in implementing and complying with the Environmental Management Program [EMP]. The respondent further emphasised that its ISO 14001:2004 certification is a critical step in enhancing the firm’s commitment to the formulation and implementation of effective environmental protection systems and programs. Subsequently, the firm’s capability to operate social responsibly will improve remarkably.
The respondent also emphasised that environmental protection is one of the core elements of the National Paints-Sharjah’s corporate culture. The director asserted that the firm has been committed to environmental protection since 1977. Over the past three decades, the National Paints-Sharjah has ensured maximum protection of the environment throughout its supply chain. The firm’s success in protecting the environment has also arisen from its workforces’ appreciation of the importance of protecting the environment.
When asked how ISO 14001 has influenced the National Paints-Sharjah Total Quality Management System, the respondent asserted that the firm has remarkably improved its quality management. The respondent argued that ISO 14001 has promoted the firm’s ability to utilise total quality management tools such as the Plan-Do-Check-Act [PDCA]. Subsequently, the firm has gained a high edge in its quality management, for example, by implementing continuous improvement. According to the managing director, ISO 14001: 2004 is based on the PDCA method in order to be implemented effectively. In its operation, the National Paints Factories has integrated PDCA as one of its total quality management tools.
The respondent argued that it is imperative for organisations in Sharjah to consider integrating effective environmental management systems. The firms can achieve this goal by complying with ISO 14001 requirements. This move will contribute in the improvement of the global competitiveness amongst firms established in Sharjah.
The study also sought to understand the complexity associated with implementing ISO 14001. The managing director asserted that effective implementation of an effective ISO 14001 requires the input of various internal and external stakeholders. Therefore, lack of cooperation and support from various levels of management are some of the major implementation challenges faced. According to the respondent, these challenges arise from the adoption of a poor implementation process and lack of sufficient knowledge on the requirements for successful implementation of ISO standards. Thus, these challenges can be managed internally, thus increasing the likelihood of successful implementation.
The respondent advocated for the implementation of ISO 14001. The respondent cited ISO 14001 as one of the avenues through which firms in the contemporary business environment can achieve environmental sustainability. According to the respondent, ISO 14001: 2004 certification has no alternative that a firm can adopt. However, the respondent cited other types of ISO 14000 series of standards that firms should integrate in order to achieve environmental sustainability. Some of these standards are outlined in the chart below.
|ISO standards Category||Series|
|Environmental Management||ISO 14050, ISO 14031, ISO 14025|
|Environmental Management -[Lifecycle Assessment]||ISO 14040-14043|
|Environmental Management Systems||ISO 14004|
|Environmental Management Labels and Declaration||ISO 14020, 14021|
Figure 1: Categories of ISO standards that firms should consider
Attaining sustainable development is one of the fundamental aspects that organisations should focus on due to the numerous changes being experienced (Hyde, Watson & Chechire, 2009). Ebner and Baumgartner (2006) define sustainable development as “a development that meets the present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (p. 2). Organisational leaders have an obligation to focus on the various dimensions of sustainability (Hui, Chan & Pun, 2001).
One of the areas of sustainability that organisational leaders should focus on involves environmental sustainability in order to minimise the high rate of climate change that is currently being experienced (Lye, 2008). Most businesses have been criticised for their contribution to climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases and other forms of pollution such as water, soil, and land (Morelli, 2011). Despite this aspect, BM Trada (2014) argues that firms can make a difference with reference to environmental protection. However, a substantial number of firms across different economic sectors have not implemented effective environmental management policies (Orlitzky, Siegel & Waldman, 2011).
The EMP should outline an organisation’s commitment in nurturing an organisational culture that is environmentally conscious. Furthermore, the program should clearly illustrate the control procedure to be followed in assessing the firm’s performance (The World Bank, 2009). Salzmann, Somers, and Steger (2005) assert that designing an effective EMP improves a firm’s capacity to make the necessary adjustment on its environmental sustainability measures. Since its inception, the National Paints Factories has continuously reviewed its EMP in order to determine the extent to which its products are environmentally friendly.
Considering the high rate of climate change in the contemporary world, it is imperative for organisations to integrate environmental sustainability as one of their sustainability goals. This assertion means that firms should not only be concerned with maximising their profitability, but also the long-term survival of society in which they operate. Thus, organisations in different sectors should focus on improving their environmental performance by incorporating the Environmental Management System in their strategic management practices.
In a bid to succeed in achieving global competitiveness, it is imperative for organisations to improve their focus on sustainability. Subsequently, firms should consider incorporating different categories of ISO standards. Aba and Badar (2010) emphasise that the high rate of globalisation has increased the significance of adopting internationally accepted standards in achieving long-term success. Furthermore, Aba and Badar (2010) opine that standards “have positive economic effects, for example, the ability to exploit network externalities, increase productive and innovative efficiency, decrease imperfect information, reduce the cost of operation, and fostering public welfare” (p. 42).
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Implementing ISO 14001 has played a fundamental role in improving the National Paints Factories’ ability to operate social responsibly. For example, the firm has eliminated negative environmental impact. Thus, the firm has developed a strong corporate reputation. Furthermore, ISO 14001 has enhanced the National Paints Factories commitment towards its total quality management. For example, the firm has been successful in implementing continuous improvement tools such as the PDCA.
Conclusion and recommendations
The study underscores the significance of adopting international standards in achieving sustainable development. The National Paint Factories’ decision to implement ISO standards such as the ISO 14001 through its EMP system has improved its long-term sustainability and global reputation. Therefore, organisations in different economic sectors around the world should consider adopting ISO standards. However, to implement the ISO standards successfully, it is imperative for organisational leaders to consider the following.
- The implementation process should be a collaborative undertaking to ensure that the program gains sufficient support from all stakeholders.
- Firms should continuously review their sustainability programs such as the EMP in order to determine their effectiveness. This move will also provide insight on the necessary changes.
- Organisational leaders should integrate different types of ISO standards in order achieve sustainable development. Some of the standards that they should consider include the ISO 14000 and ISO 9000 series.
Aba, K., & Badar, A. (2010). A review of the impact of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 Certification. The Journal of Technology Studies, 2 (4), 42-50.
BM Trada: A world leader in certification. (2014). Web.
Ebner, D., & Baumgartner, R. (2008). The relationship between sustainable development and corporate social responsibility. Corporate Responsibility Research Conference, 3(3), 1-17.
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