Perspectives: Help with ISO 14000 Certification



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First, there was ISO 9000 compliance. Now there are ISO 14000 compliance standards to meet. Many larger companies, such as Ford, IBM and Allied Signal, have met these standards and completed certification. Subsequently, they will expect their suppliers to also meet these voluntary environmental standards. These standards were developed to manage and reduce a company's impact on the environment.

For many small and medium size businesses, such as job shops, this is may seem overwhelming, especially if the company just completed ISO 9000 certification. There is a lot of time and paperwork involved, not to mention cost. However, if they want to do business with the Fords, IBMs and Allied Signals, they will most likely have to be certified ISO 14000. Some of the bigger players simply will not do business with companies that are not certified.

Here are a few companies that can offer assistance with achieving ISO 14000:

WorkSafe System provides businesses with tools needed to comprehensively protect their workers and environment, including training, consulting, software solutions, legal advice and insurance information. Everything can be accomplished through the company's web site at www.ehsmanager.com.

NSF-ISR is an ISO 14000 registrar that has worked with the EPA on four environmental management implementation projects. You can find out more about the organization at www.nsf-isr.org.

There is one source of help for smaller businesses. You can find it at ISOft14000.com. This site offers software and other information that can make ISO 14000 certification a whole lot easier. The site lists registrars that have earned accreditation through the National Accreditation program and can help your company through the process. It also lists companies that have already received ISO 14000 certification. It offers books and publications in addition to the software.

The software provides users the ability to assess, implement and audit an environmental management system and will automatically generate a report.

The site also features a forum with a listing of discussion groups. These groups provide a way for you to present questions or discuss similar ISO 14000 issues with other small to medium-size business owners. Issues include training, software, implementation and assessment, to name a few.

Although the ISO standards are voluntary, noncompliance can be a costly business mistake. This web site is just one way to help smaller businesses become certified without the added expenditure of hiring a third party. Also, the savings realized from implementing ISO 14000 standards will be found in improved operations, reduced cost of waste management and maybe even less monitoring by the EPA.