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What are the business benefits of ISO 14001?

Why businesses should seriously consider their approach to ISO 14001

Managing demolition waste for ISO 14001If I had a pound for every time a business leader said to me “We want you to help us get certification to ISO 14001 so that we can tick that box on the pre-qualification questionnaire” I’d have, oh…, at least the price of a good meal out.  I usually explain that, if the business just wants the badge, they’re missing most of the trick.  This is because, if you avoid the temptation to build an over-engineered system and focus on managing the environmental impacts of the business your environmental management system should more than pay its way:-

Save money

ISO 14001 increases the visibility of resource use, the quantity of waste and cost of final disposal. This allows the business to put a value on consumption and waste of all kinds, so that it can prioritise programmes for improvement and reduce operating costs, waste disposal costs and regulatory costs.
ISO 14001 ensures that the business identifies and manages environmental risk effectively, which can lead to a substantial reduction in insurance premiums. A 50% reduction in insurance premiums is not unusual.

Manage business risk

ISO 14001 ensures that the business identifies and manages environmental risks, helping to prevent interruption of operations caused by natural disasters, environmental incidents, breaches of regulations & foreseeable emergencies.
ISO 14001 helps the business to bring their supply chain and contractors under control, reducing the chance of delay or downtime caused by their failure to comply with environmental legislation.
ISO14001 ensures that legal responsibilities are identified and managed and so avoids prosecution of the business and its officers.

Increase sales

ISO 14001 boosts the  reputation of the business and gives access to customers that demand that their suppliers hold a certified environmental management standard.
ISO 14001 helps to reduce operating costs and so helps maintain margin under price pressure.

Improve employee performance

ISO 14001 ensures that employees are more involved in the business, leading to better morale and lower staff turnover. Skill shortages and lack of competence are identified systematically and corrected, leading to a higher rate of right-first-time work and fewer mistakes.

Improve relationships with third parties

ISO 14001 re-assures regulators that the business has environmental management under control and can lead to a lighter touch being used.
ISO 14001 encourages the business to communicate and consult on its plans with interested third parties. This puts the business in the best position to get co-operation from investors, campaigners and neighbours.