In 2013 ISO/TC 207/SC 1 – the ISO Technical Committee responsible for the revision of international environmental management system standard ISO 14001 - conducted a survey on ISO 14001 which covered a range of potential areas for continual improvement. The survey questionnaire included questions related to the perceived value of the ISO 14001 standard for both business management and environmental management, and the extent to which ISO 14001 should address or strengthen attention to future challenges for environmental management systems.
The results of this survey have just become available and make for interesting reading. For environmental management, responses from users suggest that organisations have realised significant value from ISO 14001 in terms of meeting legal requirements, improving environmental performance, and enhancing management commitment and stakeholder engagement.
Close to 75% of participants indicated ‘high’ or ‘very high’ value for meeting legal requirements and improving the organisation’s environmental performance, while more than 60% indicated ‘high’ to ‘very high value’ for management commitment and employee engagement.
Responses from users also suggest that ISO 14001 has provided considerable value for business management, most notably for meeting stakeholder requirements, improving public image, achieving strategic objectives, and integrating with business management systems. More than half of participants indicated ‘high’ to ‘very high’ value, and more than 80% indicated at least a moderate value in these areas.
Furthermore, 78% and 63% of responses indicated at least a moderate value in terms of providing a competitive advantage and financial benefit, respectively.
These results correspond with reported motivations for adopting the Standard. Based on user rankings of factors influencing their adoption of the standard, the strongest environmental drivers for adopting ISO 14001 included commitment to environmental protection/conservation, and reduction of risk of adverse environmental impact. Primary influences related to business management included customer requirements and public image.