Environmental Management System ISO 14 000 series

The ISO 14000 Environmental Management Systems (EMS) can be regarded as analogous to the ISO 9000 series, viewing the "customer" in this case as the environment, and just like ISO 9000, ISO 14 000 requires companies to "do what you say and say what you do." The relevant member of this family to chemical companies is the ISO 14 001 standard, which provides a framework on which to build a system that enables an organisation to meet the regulatory requirements. This is achieved by integrating environmental considerations into every level of the company and then being able to demonstrate the capability of the system through independent assessment.

R&D has an obvious and important role to play in any EMS, especially since competence in understanding the environmental impact of chemicals and processing is a high level requirement.

ISO 14 001 requires companies to develop and document a method for identifying, controlling, monitoring, and reviewing the ways in which the company potentially or actually interacts with the environment. To meet the standards of ISO 14 001 the EMS must address all of the following elements:

• Environmental Policy. This is a statement from top management that identifies the organizations commitment to continual improvement, prevention of pollution. There must also be a commitment to fully understand and comply with all relevant environmental legislation and regulations.

• Planning. Companies are required to identify ways in which they impact and interact with the environment and identify goals for improvement. In addition, companies need to identify all environmentally related legal requirements.

• Implementation and Operation. Documented procedures must be in place to control and monitor all of the ways in which the company impacts and interacts with the environment, including emergency preparedness and response. This includes an assurance that employees are trained and competent in their jobs that may interact with the environment.

• Checking and Corrective Action. Documented procedures that monitor and measure key characteristics of operations and activities that may impact the environment must be specified.

• Management Review. Requires top management to actively participate in reviewing the EMS.

Even though the focus of ISO 14 001 is on the establishment of an EMS and not specific performance levels, the outcome of having a strong EMS is improved environmental performance. Further information on ISO 9000 and 14 000 management systems can be obtained via the ISO website [B-27].

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