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16 March 2015

ISO 14001 Approach to Environmental Management and Pollution Prevention

URS Certification (Ireland) works in partnership with our clients to eliminate or reduce environmental damage through third party assessments of the implementation of the requirements of ISO 14001. We will look at each of your processes in turn to establish if there are adequate controls in place to prevent pollution. To this end, senior management involvement is key.

Is your organisation committed to prevention of pollution?

The ISO 14001 standard mandates us to comply, not only with environmental legislation and best practice, but also to demonstrate to interested parties and stakeholders that your organisation takes a proactive approach to limiting or eliminating environmental damage. If organisations fail to achieve this, all other EMS documents, internal audits, management reviews etc. are irrelevant. We must see continual improvement in environmental impact management. Environmental protection is not a box-ticking exercise!

All human activity leads to pollution: the aim is to eliminate or lessen the impact of our activities on the environment. Pollution of the atmosphere, ground water, soil and surface water is unsustainable and unethical.

The protection of the environment involves planning of activities so that waste is FULLY accounted for and disposed of properly: mass balance is ideal.

  • Reduce waste
  • Re-use waste
  • Recycle waste
  • Eliminate waste

The financial benefits are obvious. Energy is expensive, why waste it.

Each organisation must risk-assess each of their processes for environmental impacts or potential impacts. Where it is envisaged that there is potential damage to the environment in developing a new drug molecule, for example, different routes to the desired product must be considered. Certainly, where low yields of final products or key intermediates are envisaged, the organisation must exhaust other possibilities, since by following inefficient routes will inevitably lead to significant wastes, including energy and associated costs.

Third party audits carried out by URS Certification Ireland will help you with achieving excellence in environmental protection and in so doing will drive a risk management approach to pollution prevention. Your environmental aspects must be identified and eliminated or controlled.

Environmental damage, resource utilisation, waste, unsustainable activities, global warming are increasingly of major concern to environmentalists. Operating to the requirements of the recognised international environmental standard ISO 14001 requires organisations to identify HOW they can cause damage to the environment and how they eliminate the source or control the source of damage. The approach is again proactive, identifying potential failure modes and the implementation of the necessary controls.

Of course, organisations can make significant savings in labour costs, raw material costs and energy by taking control of their environmental aspects. Reduce the office temperature by 1.0 Celsius, insulate your building, switch of office computers before you go home and see how much you save. 

ISO 14001:2015NEWS, NEWS….New Version of the standard to be published in Quarter 4 2015. It will be called ISO 14001:2015. The transition period for this standard has been PROVISIONALLY set for Q1 2019.

Dr. Martin Knox

Dr. Martin Knox

Martin Knox is a PhD Chemist with significant experience in training and development, research, environmental management and water quality management. He is a lead assessor for the following international standards:

  1. ISO 9001
  2. OHSAS 18001
  3. ISO 13485
  4. ISO 14001

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