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New ISO/ITC handbook/CD package puts ISO 14001 within easier reach of SMEs
Small and medium-sized enterprises are being provided with a new tool to make it easier for them to achieve the benefits of implementing an environmental management system based on the International Standard, ISO 14001.
The tool comes in the form of a combined handbook and CD, ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems – An easy-to-use checklist for small business – Are you ready? It is published in English, French and Spanish editions by ISO, developer of ISO 14001 and more than 18 500 other standards, and the International Trade Centre (ITC).
The publication of ISO 14001 in 1996 and then revised in 2004 has proved to be very successful, as it is now implemented in more than 159 countries and has provided organizations with a powerful management tool to improve their environmental performance. More than 223 149 organizations have been certified worldwide against ISO 14001 at the end of 2009, which is an
increase of 18 % compared to 2008. Many companies have improved their operations and reduced the impact of their activities, processes, products and services on the environment by using a systematic approach that seeks continual improvement.
The benefits of positively addressing environmental issues not only cover the preservation of the environment, but are also linked to business performance and profitability while
improving the corporate image, enhancing access to export markets, providing a common reference for communicating environmental issues with customers, regulators, the public and other stakeholders, etc.
ISO Secretary-General, Rob Steele, and ITC Executive Director, Patricia R. Francis, write in the Foreword to the handbook: “Experience shows that small and medium-sized enterprises can also implement an effective EMS and realize a variety of benefits. However, EMS implementation can present some challenges. This checklist aims at helping organizations to understand
the requirements for environment management systems and identify the main areas for improvement. It will therefore be of value even if the ultimate aim is not third party certification of the organization.
“We hope that this new handbook to help achieve the benefits of ISO 14001 will be of practical use to small businesses whatever their activity and wherever they may be, but especially in developing countries and economies in transition.”
The handbook and CD are in the form of a checklist which guides the user to ask and answer a series of questions regarding the environmental activities of their organization. through the questions in a step-by-step manner will enable managers of an organization to determine its present environmental performance, and will help them identify areas for improvement.
The checklist is in 16 parts, each covering a particular stage in the EMS implementation process. Each part provides a brief explanation of the relevant requirement(s) of ISO 14001, as well as guidance on how to incorporate these into an EMS that meets the needs of a particular organization. The CD provides the convenience of electronic navigation and allows responses to each question to be saved and then printed in PDF format