ISO 14001, the world’s most Popular Standard for Environmental Management

If one were to be asked at a quiz which the most popular standard for environmental management is; the answer shouldn’t be difficult to give: it is the ISO 14001 by a long shot. In fact, since its enactment in 1996, ISO 14001 has been so popular that many think it is the only existing global standard on the subject of environmental management. What makes the ISO 14001 so popular?

The roots of this Standard can be traced to the emergence of the environment at the forefront of world forums and debates since about the early 1990’s. The enactment of this Standard was the culmination of the growing awareness of the importance of the environment among governments, businesses and the general public. As a result of the sustained efforts of environmental groups and other interested stakeholders, enactment of standards about the environment became almost an imperative for governments across the world.

What is the ISO 14001, and what does it do?

As we have seen, the ISO 14001 is a Standard for environmental management. It chalks out a set of guidelines to organizations across the globe for managing the environment, through a combination of action items that include, but are not restricted to the following:

  1. Ways by which to cut waste
  2. Means by which energy use can be lowered
  3. Adapt the growth and use of renewable resources
  4. Adapt a risk based approach to pollution prevention
  5. Impress upon organizations the need to comply with regulatory and legal requirements
  6. Make provisions for designs that are comprehensive and cover the complete product lifecycle

What kinds of organizations are required to comply with ISO 14001?

The ISO 14001 description clearly states that a broad swathe of organizations, both in the services and manufacturing sector need to comply with relevant provisions of the ISO 14001. Industrial and service organizations, public bodies and utilities in more than 150 countries around the world have accepted ISO 14001 as the Standard for environmental management.


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