Recently, I received a news release from the folks at Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America Inc., announcing to the world that the company was awarded ISO 14001 certification, demonstrating its commitment to enacting environmentally friendly practices. On the heels of that news release, I had a call from a reader asking me where he might get some information on the very same subject.
While I was aware of the ISO 14001 standard, I realized there might be more people needing information, since it deals with green issues. Here’s a primer in 500 words or less. If you want information to come at you like water from a fire hose, just put the term in your favorite search engine and stand back. The bright side is that by doing the search electronically, you’re not cutting trees.
The International Standards Organization has published a comprehensive set of standards for environmental management. This series of standards is designed to cover the whole area of environmental issues for companies, particularly those doing business in the global marketplace.
ISO assessed the need for international environmental management standards and formed the Strategic Advisory Group on the Environment (SAGE).
SAGE, and its subcommittees, which include representatives from industry, standards organizations, government and environmental organizations, launched the new series of ISO 14000 standards, designed to cover:
- Environmental management systems;
- Environmental auditing;
- Environmental performance evaluation;
- Environmental labeling;
- Lifecycle assessment;
- Environmental aspects in product standards.
The purpose of these international standards is to create a worldwide focus on the environment and encourage a cleaner, safer, healthier world for us all. The existence of the standards allows organizations to focus environmental efforts against internationally accepted criteria.
As we’ve seen, many companies seek ISO 9000 registration primarily to meet growing demands from customers. ISO 9000 quality registration has become necessary to do business in many areas. Similarly, the ISO 14000 management system registration may become the primary requirement for doing business in many regions or industries.
For ISO 14001, except for committing to continual improvement and compliance with applicable legislation and regulations, the standard does not establish absolute requirements for environmental performance. Many organizations, engaged in similar activities, may have widely different environmental management systems and performance and may all still comply with ISO 14001.
So, how does this work with Mitsubishi Caterpillar? “At MCFA, we are proud to utilize efficient and environmentally conscious operating procedures,” said John Hansen, vice president of operations. “It not only solidifies the efforts our employees put forth every day to be mindful of our impact on the environment, but it is good business.”Clyde E. Witt