Effective irrigation Achieving sustainability and performance

2009-April-02

This (New) Year and more specifically this week the Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards would like to renew focus on the environment, particularly on organizations and the evaluation of how their different activities and products interact with the environment. The following excerpt from an article by Mark Barthel, BSI and Daniel Mansfield Secretary, ISO/TC 207/SC 1 sets out to explain briefly two International Standards ISO 14001 and ISO 14004 which address the matter of environmental management. This first part of this submission will deal primarily with ISO 14001. Mr. Barthel and Mr. Mansfield say thus:

"Introduction

This article provides an overview of the requirements of the environmental management systems standards in the ISO 14000 series. It is intended to raise awareness of the standards and to help organizations during the preliminary stages of EMS development and implementation. For this reason, an emphasis has deliberately been placed on the EMS components under ISO 14001 which drive the initial development and implementation of the EMS (e.g. aspect/impact assessment, legal compliance issues, initial review and policy formulation). As with the first chapter, bulleted lists have been provided in most sections which may be extracted by the reader as the basis for developing slides for training and awareness programmes.

Background

Of central importance in the ISO 14000 series are the environmental management system standards, ISO 14001 and ISO 14004. These standards allow an organization to take a systematic approach to the evaluation of how its activities, products and services interact with the environment. In September 1996, after only three years of intensive development work involving over 60 countries, ISO 14001 and ISO 14004 were published by ISO as International Standards and simultaneously adopted as European Standards.

ISO 14001

ISO 14001, Environmental management systems - Specification with guidance for use, forms the cornerstone of the ISO 14000 series and specifies the requirements for an environmental management system (EMS) against which organizations may be certified by appropriately accredited third party certification bodies". As its title suggests, ISO 14001 is a standard of two principal parts. The main text of the standard contains the specification which details the requirements an organization must meet in order to achieve third party certification; whilst Annex A of ISO 14001 contains additional guidance for [the] use of the specification.

The specification requirements for an EMS under ISO 14001 include the:

  • gaining of top management commitment to the EMS;
  • development of an environmental policy;
  • planning of an EMS, including the:
    • identification of significant environmental aspects and their associated environmental impacts;
    • establishment of legal and regulatory requirements relevant to the organizations activities, products and services; (It is also possible for organizations to make a self-declaration of compliance to the requirements of the standard)
    • development of quantifiable objectives and targets to reduce the organization's significant impacts on the environment;
    • establishment and maintenance of environmental management programmes, which include the proper allocation of resources and specified timeframes within which to achieve stated objectives and targets
  • Implementation of an EMS, including:
    • the development of training and awareness programmes;
    • the allocation of roles and responsibilities within a pre-defined management or organizational structure;
    • procedures and processes for handling internal and external communications;
    • the creation of supporting documentation and documentation control mechanisms;
    • operational control procedures; and
    • emergency preparedness and response planning and testing;
  • Maintenance and continual improvement of the EMS, including:
    • the monitoring and measurement of operations and activities
    • record-keeping;
    • the creation of procedures to deal with non-conformances with the requirements of the standard, company policy and legislation,
    • the development of procedures, programmes and processes to prevent any repeat of non-conformances; and
    • EMS audit procedures and programmes;
  • Management review of an EMS to determine its suitability, adequacy and effectiveness and to make recommendations for the achievement of continual improvements in environmental performance.

Annex B of the standard contains information on the linkages and broad technical correspondences between ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, Quality Systems- Model for quality assurance in design, development, production and servicing (the equivalent Quality Management Systems standard).

It is worth noting at this point that those organizations who do not have a formal EMS in place should undertake an initial review or preparatory review to determine how their activities, products and services interact with the environment. Whilst the standard does not require an initial review, without such a review many organizations will not have the information to develop an environmental policy based on the requirements of ISO 14001… (Next week's article will consider elements of the ISO 14004 standard)

For more information on ISO Management System, the work of the Bureau of Standards/CROSQ or the BNSI Consultancy kindly contact the Manager Information Services, Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards, Corner Redcliffe Street & Corn Alley, P.O. Box 1550, St. John's, Antigua (W.I.) or Telephone 462-2424 or email: abbs@antigua.gov.ag

 

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