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Waste-products-and-recycling-with-ISO-14001Waste is a global issue. The major world economies have long recognised that the amount of waste being produced has reached crisis levels. With developing nations producing more waste as they grow, global waste could increase by 70% by 2050 according to the World Bank.

Plastic waste has been identified as a major problem for our seas and environment with steps now being taken to limit the use of plastic containers across all sectors of the economy. Initiatives by supermarkets to remove plastic packaging from their shelves. Other moves by facilities to make water fountains and taps available for drinking water instead of using bottled water are just two of the changes that are gradually altering the way we shop and think about managing waste.

Food waste is one of the world’s largest contributors to carbon dioxide emissions. Waste from our own dining tables, commercial kitchens and throughout supply chains are one of the largest contributors towards global climate change according to the United Nations. Ways are being investigated to redistribute, recycle and reduce the amount of food waste that goes to landfill.

Tackling the problem will need global cooperation. ISO standards can help organisations to implement management systems that will help reduce the impact of their waste and emissions on the environment and improve performance and profits.

Being an independent, non-governmental international organisation, ISO can provide organisations, in the 164 countries where they have national standard bodies, with management frameworks that provide solutions to the challenges facing us in the fight against climate change.

ISO 14001 environmental management system

Commercial enterprises are under pressure to reduce the amount of waste produced and find ways to re-use, remanufacture, repair and recycle. The government announced in their policy paper published in December 2018 that their strategy will:
  • preserve our stock of material resources by minimising waste, promoting resource efficiency and moving towards a circular economy
  • minimise the damage caused to our natural environment by reducing and managing waste safely and carefully
  • deal with waste crime.
Their plan is to move society away from the inefficient linear economic model of “take, make, use, throw” to a more circular economy of “re-use, remanufacture, repair, recycle”. This will see us keeping resources in use for as long as possible. It will allow us to extract maximum value from them, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of their lifespan.

Their aim is to make the UK the G20 nation with the highest level of ambition for the environment.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/resources-and-waste-strategy-for-england

Businesses will be expected to play their part, supermarkets are already moving to reduce packaging, restaurants are being encouraged to reduce wasted food or find ways of re-distributing excess food. Manufacturers are minimising and providing recyclable packaging.

Tackling the issue will require a management framework that encompasses the whole organisation. ISO 14001 provides an environmental management system that will make your organisation as efficient as possible to help you to meet any new or existing regulations, reduce waste and reduce costs.

What is ISO 14001

ISO 14001 certification involves a dedicated internal resource or an external consultant providing the necessary experience to identify where your organisation can improve waste management within your overall environmental management strategy.

Implementing ISO 14001 will demonstrate to your suppliers, employees and customers that you have an internationally recognised management system in place to minimise the impact of your operations on the environment.

Some of your customers may require certification before they ask you to tender for business. We are expecting this to become more common as we enter an era of planning to improve our environment.

ISO 14001 certification

The process of certification and the management framework implemented is unique to every business and your consultant will bring their expertise and knowledge to provide best practice and solutions to your particular needs.

The process will include a complete waste audit to determine the amount of waste you are generating and where savings could be made. Can any of your waste be recycled or re-used?

Working through this process, the benefits of using ISO 14001 will save money, help meet your legal responsibilities, reduce your environmental impact and, if implemented effectively, lead to increased profits.

Training employees and including your entire organisation in the process will help the implementation of ISO 14001 and aid the cycle of continual improvement that is required to achieve a successful audit.

Talk to one of our team about implementing ISO 14001 to meet your environmental goals as the government rolls out their 25-year plan to improve the environment. Request a callback or get an ISO 14001 quote.
ISO-14001-climate-changeThe words “climate emergency” will be heard increasingly across the media as the government urges us all to do more to reduce harmful emissions.
A climate emergency was declared by Britain’s parliament, a world first, recently followed by Ireland’s parliament.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, we have just 12 years to avoid the worst effects of climate change before we reach the critical tipping point. The report investigated the effects of an increase in global temperatures from 1.5C to 2C. We are currently heading towards an increase of 3C.

At the current rate of global warming the worst effects of climate change will take place between 2030 and 2052 if no action is taken to reduce emissions.

The impact of climate change will be felt by businesses around the world as the effects disrupt the economic performance of global corporations. Causes will range from extreme weather disrupting supply chains to stricter climate regulations and the increasing price of coal, oil and gas. Moves towards clean energy could also have an impact on manufacturing costs and the effects of global warming will touch every area of our society.

A recent report from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) covering 215 of the world’s largest corporations found that they could potentially face costs related to climate change in the region of £790 million in the decades ahead.

ISO 14001 certification to help combat the effects of climate change
ISO 14001 can help businesses to reduce their environmental impact by helping to identify areas of improvement.

Reducing waste, using clean energy, installing effective insulation and fitting energy efficient lighting are some of the actions that will not only help the environment but also reduce your operating costs and save money.

Demonstrating your commitment to the environment will give you an advantage over competitors when tendering for new business.

Recycling and using recyclable materials can help to conserve materials and produce less waste.

Engaging your employees and making it easy for them to recycle materials and conserve energy will benefit your business and improve employee morale.

ISO 14001 risk assessments to plan for the challenges of a changing climate
The recent revisions to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 include an increasing emphasis on risk assessments and a culture of risk-based thinking. Using the framework of your ISO 14001 Environmental Management System to identify areas for improvement over the next 10 years will help your business to survive the challenges and financial risks of climate change. Some of the risks include:
  • The effect of energy costs rising.
  • The risk of extreme weather events disrupting the supply chain.
  • New regulations and tighter controls on emissions.
  • Tax increases to curb emissions.
  • Transport cost increases.
Initiating a plan to minimise the risks and identify benefits will help your business continue to grow through these challenging times.

To find out about ISO 14001 certification please call one of our team on 0121 241 2299.
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/