Saturday, August 15, 2009

Going further with ISO 14001

The great deal of my professional work experience has been all about the implementation of ISO14001. In 2000, fresh out of college, I was tasked to maintain the documentation requirements of a school's certification based on the specifications of ISO14001:1996, at that time I had the impression that it was a very technical concept but almost a decade in implementing the standard and doing consultancy work on the requirement for multiple industries it was easy as a breeze.

That may have been a biased statement given my years of experience in the field but some people still think that ISO14001 is something that can only be achieved by certified firms or industries. This is a common misconception. We should not look at ISO 14001 as a technical requirement that involves a drastic change in technology or production system but rather we should look at the standard as a systematic framework to gradually achieve changes starting with the organizational structure where people on top of the hierarchy agrees to make a change. The change doesn't have to be specific as long as a commitment is made and a willingness to spearhead the change...once this commitment on top is in place the behavioral and technological change will gradually occur.

Carrying the common misconception, most firms or organizations shun away from implementing the standard and make the common mistake of jumping onto technological innovations without the proper organizational infrastructure that will allow pollution control technologies or environmental programs to become integrated in the production system.

Unlike the other management system standards, EMS based on ISO14001 is the simplest of all and with the revision of ISO9001 for 2008, other management system standards have revised their requirements in alignment for ISO14001 in able to achieve easier integration.

Most fast foods, the really big ones implement a HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) System or Food Safety Management System based on ISO 22000. Given the management system infrastructure being in place, a fast food firm who wishes to implement an EMS can integrate it with HACCP/FSMS. However, another short-coming of other fastfoods is their lack of a formal HACCP system to ensure non-contamination of products within the chain of custody prior to human consumption.

Going back to ISO14001, my point is, we should never fear a standard. It is by raising our standards even in the way we do things that eventually raises our quality of life.


iso 9000 said...

I read your post . it was amazing.Your thought process is wonderful.
The way you tell about things is awesome. They are inspiring and helpful.Thanks for sharing your information and stories.
iso 9000