New Zealand has an international review group that contributes to the development of ISO standards for environmental management systems, including ISO 14001 Environmental management systems - Requirements with guidance for use, which is being revised. Paul Barrett is the convenor of the group and says it includes a wide cross section of contributors.
‘We have representatives with a broad base of disciplines and skill sets from business, the tertiary sector, research organisations, local councils, certification bodies, training organisations, and the auditing sector.’
Paul Barrett says that New Zealand businesses are asking what the benefits of environmental management are and how can they certify to the standard (ISO 14001).
‘It’s important to make the advantages of the standard tangible so a business can see these benefits, measure them, report on them, and demonstrate them.
‘We work together with ISO to make the standard applicable and usable by large and small businesses in New Zealand. By improving the standard and guidance available, businesses will see how it can be implemented and improve their environmental performance.’
ISO 14001 improves environmental performance
A recent survey of ISO 14001 found that it is particularly useful in meeting legal requirements and improving environmental performance. However, the results showed that the next version of the standard should have a clearer focus on preventing pollution, eco-efficiency, and life-cycle thinking.
The ISO survey covered the future content and current benefits of the standard, to understand what people see as the main benefits of the standard and what could be improved. The survey received over 5 000 responses from organisations of various sizes in 110 countries – most of whose system is built on ISO 14001 – with 46% from small and medium-sized companies.
Susan Briggs, convenor of the group responsible for the revision of ISO 14001, says that one really important thing for the working group experts in the revision process is to make ISO 14001 as ‘future proof’ as possible.
‘This means taking into account future challenges and trying to design for them.’