Leading experts in Environment from EEF and manufacturing companies across the UK met to make key recommendations to the revision of guidance to ISO14001, the widely used standard for Environmental Management Systems (EMS) that customers use to differentiate between suppliers.
The overall theme of the event was how to drive value from EMS and how this can be reflected in the new version. ISO14001 enables manufacturers to reduce the risk and impact of environmental breaches, allowing more time to be spent on proactive measures such as increasing efficiency and saving costs. Both large manufacturers and SMEs who attended the roundtable cited customer demand, structural changes, the need to integrate different standards and environmental improvement as reasons for providing input to the revision process. A number of key recommendations were made to the revised standard:
Top management members should not be required to lead on subjects they do not have full understanding of
Too much emphasis is placed on value chain activities which will not always be relevant. This risks putting manufacturers off the standard as there is too much text and work will be different between larger and smaller businesses
Chairing the roundtable, Greg Roberts, HSCE Consultant at EEF and the leading UK Expert on the ISO Technical Committee, commented:
“Although the revised standard will not be implemented until early 2015, manufacturers must start taking action now to support the implementation of these changes and drive value from their EMS. The most significant area identified by manufacturers is the greater emphasis on leadership and commitment. Top management must take a greater role to ensure real business value is realised.”
Following the roundtable, EEF has submitted its feedback to the BSI working group, who are responsible for consolidating the UK’s comments ahead of the ISO technical meeting in Gabarone, Botswana in June this year.