An increasing number of global businesses are adopting the international environmental management systems standard ISO 14001, according to the latest ISO 14001 data, which shows that the number of certificates issued worldwide has grown 7 percent in one year.
The worldwide total of certificates now stands at 324,148. Data published by the International Organization for Standardization shows a year-on-year increase of more than 22,500 certificates between 2013 and 2014.
ISO 14001 is globally the second most used standard companies use to manage their performance, with certifications on 170 countries. The data on global uptake of ISO 14001 comes just one week after a ISO published a revised version of the standard following a three-year review process.
The Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment reports the UK has held its position as fourth in the global league table, behind China (117,758), Italy (27,178) and Japan (23,753).
The new version of the standard, published Sept. 15, was developed to better align with business strategy and to support organizations becoming more resilient to external environmental change. The new standard requires companies to:
- Put in place measures to proactively respond to growing environmental risks.
- Ensure top management are accountable for environmental performance improvement.
- Place greater emphasis on managing environmental impacts across the value chain.
In a survey conducted by IEMA more than 40 percent of businesses said the revised standard will bring greater buy in from senior management. Around 40 percent of businesses saved at least £10,000 ($15,238) since implementation, with some businesses saving more than £5 million ($7.6 million) as a result of using ISO 14001.
The majority of these savings were delivered through energy efficiency measures (71 percent of those surveyed) and improved waste management (64 percent of those surveyed). Wider benefits include improved environmental performance (38 percent), meeting legislative requirements (39 percent), enhancing stakeholder relations, and generating new business opportunities (22 percent).