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With schoolchildren striking over climate change around the world, is it time for businesses to look at more ways to reduce their own environmental footprint?
Global warming and the destruction of wildlife habitat are the two main challenges facing the planet and we are told that action needs to be taken now or the effects will be irreversible.

To emphasise the urgency, here are some statements taken from Michael Gove’s recent speech on UK climate change published on 26th November 2018*:
  • Even as we take action to slow carbon dioxide pollution now, physics dictates that the climate will keep heating up for decades to come.
  • Science is clear that there will be changes in ecosystems caused by the climate. WWF’s recent Living Planet report revealed a 60% fall in global wildlife populations in just over 40 years. One of the main causes of this devastating decline is climate change.
  • Around the world, fears are growing for the existence of some low-lying countries - most of the 1,000 or so Marshall Islands, covering 29 slender coral atolls in the South Pacific, are less than six feet above sea level - and the future of a great number of coastal cities, including Miami, New York and Venice.
*Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

The full speech is well worth reading and is backed up by scientific evidence.

There is still time to act; the government has made commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions and move to renewable energy over the next 30 years.

Environment ISO 14001 wind turbines and solar panelsWhat can businesses do?
Every business can make changes, however small, to create a more sustainable workplace. This does not have to mean additional costs, in fact, making selective changes can lead to efficiency and cost savings.

Where do you start? Have you got the necessary expertise in-house to manage these changes and at a high enough level to drive the changes through? You will need someone with knowledge of environmental compliance and the ability to identify where improvements can be made and cost reductions achieved.
There are many areas where you can start. These are just a few examples:
  • Energy saving devices for lighting and heating.
  • Use sustainable energy from your utility supplier.
  • Reduce water usage.
  • Use recycled materials and recycle your waste materials.
  • Review business travel.
  • Manage your supply chain.
ISO 14001:2015
The ISO 14001 environmental management system offers a solution to help organisations meet their environmental responsibilities and operate more efficiently.

ISO 14001 consultants have years of experience working in all industry sectors and can bring a wealth of knowledge together with tried and tested methods of best practice. The most effective ISO 14001 frameworks are audited by external UKAS accredited certification bodies. This provides credibility when you need to demonstrate your commitment to the environment to customers or your supply chain.

One of the revisions to the ISO 14001 environmental management system is the importance of leadership from top management to ensure the environmental and business strategies are aligned to maximise benefits. Whether you use an external consultant or an internal resource, they will need to report directly to the business owner or CEO to drive the policy forward.

Establishing an environmental management system to meet ISO 14001 is an effective way to reduce the environmental footprint of your business and meet your company goals.

If you would like to find out how you can help the planet and deliver cost efficiencies across your organisation, you can obtain a free no obligation quote from the form on our website. http://www.acsregistrars.com/request-a-quote
One of the key changes to the revised ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards and the migration of OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001 is the increased priority given to risk-based thinking across all areas of an organisation.

The changes to these standards require a pro-active approach by management and particularly top management, to identify and manage the risks associated with the operations of the organisation.

If you are not already aware, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 revisions are complete and all audits are now carried out to the revised standards; old certification prior to September 2018 is now invalid. OHSAS 18001 is currently being migrated over a period of 3 years. The final date for migration to ISO 45001 is 12th March 2021.

Risk is inherent in every organisation; whether you are a business or institution, profit or non-profit, every decision made and operation undertaken involves an element of risk.
Risks to an organisation may include:
  • Risks to employees and customers from health and safety issues.
  • Risks from disasters such as fire and flooding.
  • Environmental risks from business operations.
  • Risks associated with industry regulations.
  • Security risks to physical structures including IT infrastructure from cybercrime.
  • Risks to the financial security of the organisation.
Risk management planning
Risk_ManagementPreparing a risk management plan will help you to achieve certification to the above standards.  It will also provide the organisation with a framework to identify risk, assess the frequency and impact of the risk and work out a process to manage the risk.

Time and resources need to be allocated to the process by top management and implemented throughout the organisation. An effective plan will increase profitability, reduce costly incidents and create a safer environment for your employees.
Your plan may include:
  • A list of risks that could affect all areas of the organisation.
  • An analysis of the risk and rank the likelihood and level of effect.
  • How you will manage the risk.
  • Implementation of ongoing monitoring and reviewing.
Depending on your organisation, a good way to start might be by setting up a risk matrix to rank the risks you have identified.

Ranking the impact of a risk on the organisation between a range of “negligible” to “critical”, for example, and including an estimate of the financial loss and the disruption it would cause, will provide information to help you to manage and minimise the risks going forward.

The above could provide the framework that your ISO auditor will be looking for when they audit your organisation for certification to the revised standards.

If you need help with your risk management planning, call one of our team on 0121 241 2299.
Bird_with_plastic_stuck_in_its_beakWe have all seen documentaries showing plastic pollution in our oceans which is affecting wildlife and ocean habitat. The films show items of plastic waste in young birds’ stomachs, turtles drowned by being caught up in plastic pollution and coral reefs choked by billions of pieces of plastic.

A recent article in the Guardian (30th October 2018) stopped me in my tracks and made me aware of the damage we have already done, not just from plastic waste, but also from our consumption of food and resources and ever-increasing global population.

“Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, leading the world’s foremost experts to warn that the annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens civilisation.”
Report by World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

As Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF, said “we are sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff”.

It is difficult to know where to start; the problem is immense and global. However, if every company initiated an environmental management system (EMS), making changes such as reducing waste and packaging, it would be a start.

One of the most recognised environmental management systems is ISO 14001.

Is ISO 14001 certification the answer for your business?
Whether you decide ISO 14001 is suitable for your company or not, every business can help by communicating to employees the importance of limiting the use of plastics.

I came across a website full of great suggestions for reducing plastic in the workplace, from active participation in events to asking suppliers to reduce plastic packaging. See the bottom of this article for the website link.

If you are looking for something a bit more structured combined with the support that will bring additional benefits to your company in the form of cost savings, ISO 14001 certification may be the answer. It will provide your business with a framework to improve environmental management systems and demonstrate your commitment to the environment.

The standard is suitable for companies of all sizes and industry sectors and the certification to the standard will include:
  • A plan for procedures and controls.
  • Employee engagement and training.
  • Targets for waste reduction.
  • A risk management and control framework to minimise the impact of your operations on the environment.
  • Continuous improvement, recording and monitoring.
Call one of our team to find out more about ISO 14001 or read the article about plastic reduction here: https://lessplastic.co.uk/9-ways-to-reduce-plastic-in-your-workplace/
The ISO 9001 transition period ends on 14th September 2018 and every organisation that relies on this standard to trade with its customers at home and abroad should have now transitioned to the revised version (ISO 9001:2015). Your certificate will be void unless you have your audit booked and you are ready for the transition in the next few weeks.

If you have not booked your audit to the revised standard ISO 9001:2015 by 14th September 2018, you will have to start the process of certification from scratch.

The same applies to ISO 14001:2008 revised to ISO 14001:2015.

Better integration and support from top management
One of the main revisions to the standard is the Annex SL framework.

Annex SL is a high-level structure that will provide consistency throughout ISO management system standards. This means that if your organisation has more than one standard (ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 for example), the management systems, structures, definitions and requirements will be consistent. This saves time and resources and makes it easier to comply with multiple standards.

The new ISO 45001 which is currently going through migration from OHSAS 18001 has also been designed around the Annex SL framework. Other standards already incorporate Annex SL, such as ISO 27001, and others will use it as they come up for revision.

ISO_9001_2015_RevisionOne of the other main changes is the involvement of top management. Leadership from management to drive the processes and support the quality management system (QMS) is now essential if it was optional before. QMS is a business process that delivers continual improvement and customer satisfaction and will need to be given the full backing and commitment at every level of the organisation.

This will inevitably lead to increased scrutiny of the management review meetings to ensure they are carried out with adequate frequency and actions are followed up. Identification of risks and risk management has also been prioritised and actions will need to be included as part of the management review process.

This all makes good commercial sense if you are serious about improving your business opportunities. The benefits can help you to grow your business and increase profits.

ISO 9001:2015 benefits
If you have been thinking about implementing ISO 9001:2015 into your organisation and need to convince top management that it makes good business sense and the investment of time and cost is worth it, here are some valid reasons:
  • Globally recognised standard to improve your credibility.
  • Less waste, increased productivity = more profit.
  • Better customer retention and satisfaction.
  • Improved internal management systems.
  • Identification and reduction of risks.
  • Employee engagement.

To find out more about implementing ISO 9001:2015 into your organisation, call one of our team on 0121 241 2299.
Following the government's ban on microbeads in cosmetics at the end of 2017 and the increase in awareness about the damage done by plastic found in our oceans, businesses and consumers will have to take up the challenge of reducing the pollution in our seas.

Plastic-wasteGlobal plastic production is expected to double over the next few decades.

There are already an estimated 11.1 billion plastic items entangled on reefs throughout the Asia-Pacific region*


With statistics like these, it is no wonder that governments and large corporations are now starting to act.

A variety of suggestions are being discussed including compostable plastic, eliminating single-use plastic and deposit return schemes.

China is now rejecting plastic waste from developed countries (since January 2018) due to most of the plastic being poor quality and ending up dumped or burned.

Therefore, solutions will have to be found quickly to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans.

ISO 14001 environmental management system
Organisations can contribute to reducing plastic pollution by implementing an effective system to manage the environmental impact of their operating processes.

ISO 14001 provides much more than a waste management system. It covers a broad scope to help you meet national and global environmental regulations and anti-pollution laws. Achieving certification to ISO 14001 will help you identify harmful effects on the environment caused by disposal of waste and set targets to minimise the impact. Additional benefits include:
  • Cost savings from reduced waste and consumption.
  • Providing an edge over your competitors when tendering.
  • Demonstrating your environmental credentials to your employees and customers.
The general public are more aware than ever about environmental issues and large multi-nationals are already seeing the benefits of being environmentally aware.

ISO 14001 proves your commitment to a cleaner world for all of us.

Integrating ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 9001:2015
Revisions of two of the most popular standards are in place and all audits are now being done to the revised standard.

One of the changes in the revision was the ability to easily integrate different standards. If you already have ISO 9001 and would benefit from certification to ISO 14001, the common structure is going to be the same under the revised standards. This will make it much easier to meet the requirements under one integrated management system.

Now would be a good time to consider improving your environmental credentials by adding ISO 14001 to your certifications.

*Research by Cornell University