ISO 14000

Reviewed by Annapoorna | Updated on Aug 27, 2020

What are the ISO 14000 Standards?

ISO 14000 standards refer to a family of standards concerning environmental management. It exists to assist organisations in fulfilling the following:

  • To minimise how the operations or processes negatively impact the environment. Also, it covers how air, water, or land changes adversely.

  • To legally comply with applicable rules and regulations, and all the environmental-related requirements.

  • To continuously improve upon the above objectives.

ISO 14000 is almost the same as the ISO 9000 on quality management. Both pertain to the process of production instead of the product itself.

Development of ISO 14000 Standard

The family of ISO 14000 primarily includes the ISO 14001 standard, which depicts the core set of standards that an organisation uses for designing and executing an effective Environmental Management System (EMS).

There are other standards in this series, such as the ISO 14004 that gives additional guidelines for an effective EMS. It includes the more specialised standard which deals with particular aspects of environmental management. The main objective of the ISO 14000 norms is to provide "practical tools available for all kinds of companies and organisations looking to manage their environmental responsibilities".

The series of ISO 14000 standards can be applied voluntarily for environmental regulation. The standard is similar to its predecessor ISO 9000, the international standard of quality management in many aspects.

ISO 9000 served as a model for its internal structure, and both can be implemented parallelly. When compared to ISO 9000, the ISO 14000 acts both as an internal management tool and an external exhibition of the company's environmental commitment to its clients and customers.

Adoption of ISO 14000 series in India

In India, 140 companies, mostly in the large industrial sector, have obtained ISO 14001 Certification by 2012. However, the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were not coming forward.

Since SMEs form a sizeable share of the export market, it is necessary to encourage them for the adoption of EMS and certification thereof. It was seen that adoption by MSMEs would be an added benefit of controlling pollution by way of self-regulation.

Also, it would lessen the pressure on the Pollution Control Boards for implementation of pollution control measures, especially in the SME sector.

In spite of India being ranked seventh in terms of number ISO 14001 certified firms, the adoption of ISO 14001 by its firms is still a lesser-known fact. A study conducted by Tilburg University in 2018 aimed at contributing to this perception and more usually extend the research on voluntary environmental initiatives by firms in developing and emerging economies.