What is ISO?
This is the International Organization for Standardization, a federation of National Standards bodies from 140 nations. The name ISO is not an acronym, but is taken from the Greek word iso, meaning "Equal" since all member bodies have an equal say into the standards. ISO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
What is the ISO 14000 family of standards?
ISO 14000 is the collective name for a number of standards that documents the guidelines for implementing an Environmental Management System for an organization. These standards provide a two-pronged approach to such a system. First, they offer a set of standardized sampling, testing, and analytical methods for specific environmental challenges and issues. In addition, ISO 14000 provides a process for environmental management for organizations. Environmental management is what the organization does to minimize the impacts of its activities on the environment.
What are the requirements under ISO 14000?
ISO 14000 does not specify levels of environmental performance. Rather it provides a framework for the strategic management of the organization's performance and sets up procedures for continuous improvements. The standard does require the organization to comply with any applicable environmental legislation and regulations. But the commitment to continuous improvement will take the organization, over time, beyond what is merely required.
What are the benefits to implementing an Environmental Management System?
First, it allows a company to assure those interested - customers, employees, regulatory agencies and the community - that the company is continuously working to reduce its impact on the environment. Second, an effective EMS will reduce operating costs associated with energy and natural resource consumption, waste disposal, and packaging. Properly managing an organization's environmental impact is not only good for the environment, it's good for the bottom line.