Environmental Management System (EMS)
This refers to the management of an organization’s environmental programs. These programs are comprehensive, systematic, planned and documented. An EMS includes the organizational structure, planning and resources for developing, implementing and maintaining policy for environmental protection.
Based on their own positive experiences, many companies with ISO 14001 certification have asked their suppliers to demonstrate their commitment to conserving resources and decreasing their impact on the environment.
What is ISO 14001
ISO 14001 can be easily integrated with ISO 9001 (quality management). An increasing number of organizations choose to implement integrated management systems, in order to take advantage of the synergies. Environmental, quality, and occupational health and safety management systems (BS OHSAS 18001/ISO 45001) are fundamental tools of corporate management; their use demonstrates acceptance of responsibility, and the intention to prevent the waste of resources.
Benefits of ISO 14001
With an environmental management system certified to ISO 14001, organizations can:
- improve their operational environmental protection
- achieve legal certainty through systematic observation of relevant environmental legislation and regulations
- reduce environmental risks
- improve their environmental performance, to include the environmental quality of products and services
- realize cost savings by way of systematic and proactive thought and action
- foster employee identification, motivation and commitment
- promote confidence of the public, customers and other stakeholders
- enhance their image and competitive ability – both nationally and internationally fulfill customer requirements
There are also Clarifications of Intent developed by the US TAG to ISO TC 207 in regard to ISO 14001:2015. Please note Section III is in regard to the new revision while Sections I and II are for prior versions but may also continue to be applicable where the requirement did not change. In addition, customers can submit questions to the US TAG through the process at the beginning of the document.
The process starts with the client’s needs and expectations. DQS wants to learn about the client’s organization, its management system, size and types of operation. Together both parties will define objectives for the assessment and/or certification, including applicable standards and specifications.
DQS will provide a detailed offer for assessment and certification services, tailored to individual client needs, based on the information provided initially. A written contract will specify all relevant deliverables as well as applicable assessment and certification criteria.
A pre-audit can serve as initial performance or gap analysis, identifying strengths and areas for improvement. For larger assessment and certification projects a project planning meeting provides a valuable opportunity for the client to meet the lead assessor and develop a customized assessment plan for all functions and locations involved. Both services are optional.
The assessment procedure itself begins with review and evaluation of system documentation, goals, results of management review and internal audits. During this process, it will be determined whether the client’s management system is sufficiently developed and ready for certification. The assessor will explain findings and coordinate any required activities to prepare for the on-site system assessment.
The assigned auditor team will audit the client’s management system at the place of production or service delivery. Applying defined management system standards and specifications, the assessment team will evaluate the effectiveness of all functional areas as well as all management system processes, based upon observations, inspections, interviews, review of pertinent records, and other assessment techniques. The audit result, including all findings will be presented to the client during the closing meeting. Required action plans will be agreed upon as necessary.
The independent certification function of DQS will evaluate the audit process and its results, and decide independently about issuance of the certificate. The client receives an audit report, documenting the audit results. When all applicable requirements are fulfilled the client also receives the certificate.
Either semi-annually or at least once per year, there will be an on-site audit of the critical components of the management system. Improvement potential will be identified, with a focus on continual improvement and sustained effectiveness.
A management system certificate is valid for a limited period of time, frequently for a maximum of three years. At the end of this cycle, a re-audit will be carried out to ensure the ongoing fulfillment of all applicable requirements. Subject to this fulfillment, a new certificate will be issued.
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