Today, companies face growing demands for environmental responsibility. Customers, investors, and regulators are all demanding higher levels of environmental performance. Companies that can demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices often have a competitive edge in the market.

Achieving this requires adopting recognized environmental standards that guide an organization toward responsible practices. Let’s explore some of the most prominent environmental standards available for businesses and help you decide which one is right for your company.

Several people working on a conveyor belt.

1. ISO 14001 – Environmental Management Systems (EMS)

ISO 14001 is one of the most widely adopted environmental standards globally. It provides a framework for organizations to establish, implement, maintain, and continually improve an Environmental Management System (EMS). ISO 14001 is flexible and applicable to various industries and sectors.

ISO 14001 is not country-specific and can be implemented by organizations worldwide. In fact, it is the generally accepted standard for environmental management. It is widely recognized and accepted internationally. The standard requires companies to identify their environmental aspects, set environmental objectives and targets, establish operational controls, conduct regular monitoring and measurement, and undertake corrective and preventive actions.

This environmental standard helps businesses improve their environmental performance by setting clear goals and promoting sustainable practices. Adhering to ISO 14001 ensures that organizations remain in compliance with environmental laws and regulations, reducing the risk of fines and penalties. Implementing sustainable practices often leads to resource efficiency and cost savings, which can positively impact a company’s bottom line.

A warehouse with pallets stacked in rows.

ISO 14001 is suitable for any business seeking to manage and improve its environmental performance. It’s particularly popular in manufacturing, construction, and service industries. Achieving ISO 14001 certification demonstrates a commitment to environmental responsibility and can lead to cost savings through improved resource efficiency and waste reduction.

2. EMA (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme)

EMA is an environmental management tool developed by the European Union. It encourages organizations to assess, manage, and continuously improve their environmental performance through regular audits and reporting.

EMA is primarily applicable to European Union member states. However, it can be adopted voluntarily by organizations outside the EU. To comply with EMA as an environmental standard for your business, organizations must conduct environmental reviews, develop an environmental policy, implement an EMS, conduct regular environmental audits, and report their environmental performance.

EMA emphasizes compliance with local environmental regulations. This focus on regional compliance is particularly relevant for organizations operating in multiple countries or regions with varying environmental laws. Another thing about this standard is that it extends beyond an organization’s immediate operations to assess its entire supply chain. This broader evaluation considers the environmental impact of suppliers and partners, making it valuable for businesses looking to enhance sustainability across their entire ecosystem.

Plastic waste in a landfill.

The standard is well-suited for European companies looking to improve their environmental performance and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. EMA certification is a recognized symbol of environmental responsibility in Europe. It helps companies reduce their environmental impact and improve their image among European customers.

3. Green Business Certification

Green business certification varies by country and region, but it generally focuses on recognizing businesses that meet specific environmental criteria. These criteria can cover areas such as energy efficiency, waste reduction, and sustainable sourcing. Such environmental standards for businesses are country-specific or region-specific. Examples include the U.S. Green Business Council’s LEED certification and Japan’s Eco Mark.

The requirements for green business certification depend on the specific program. Generally, businesses must meet criteria related to energy use, waste management, water conservation, and sustainable sourcing. Companies in regions with established green business certification programs can benefit from obtaining these certifications to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.

Green business certifications enhance a company’s reputation, attract eco-conscious consumers, and, in some cases, lead to tax incentives or government grants for sustainable practices.

Choosing The Right Environmental Standard For Your Company

Selecting the right environmental standard for your company involves several considerations:

Industry: Consider whether the standard is tailored to your industry. Some standards are more industry-specific, such as ISO 14001 for manufacturing.

 A pile of garbage on a beach.

Geographical presence: If your company operates globally or in specific regions, ensure that the chosen standard is recognized and accepted in those areas.

Company size: Some standards may be more suitable for larger enterprises, while others are designed with smaller businesses in mind.

Environmental objectives: Determine your company’s specific environmental goals and choose a standard that aligns with them.

Resource commitment: Assess the resources required for implementing and maintaining the chosen standard, including financial and personnel resources.

Regulatory compliance: If your business operates in a highly regulated industry, ensure that the selected standard complies with industry-specific regulations.

The Importance of Environmental Standards

Now that we have understood some metrics for understanding various environmental standards for businesses, it’s essential to understand why they are so crucial for businesses. Environmental standards provide a structured framework for reducing the environmental impact of an organization’s activities. They cover a wide range of issues, including energy use, waste management, emissions, and resource conservation. By adhering to these standards, businesses can:

Reduce Environmental Impact

Environmental standards set clear guidelines for sustainable practices, helping businesses minimize their environmental footprint.

Enhance Reputation

Companies that follow environmental standards typically have a better public image, which can attract environmentally conscious customers and investors.

Ensure Compliance

Many countries have laws and regulations related to environmental protection. Adhering to environmental standards helps companies stay compliant with these laws.

Improve Efficiency

Sustainable practices often lead to increased resource efficiency and cost savings, making businesses more competitive.

Access Global Markets

Some international environmental standards open doors to global markets, as many customers prefer products and services from environmentally responsible companies.

Expert Guidance From BCS

To sum it up, choosing the right environmental standard is pivotal for your company’s sustainability journey. ISO 14001 environmental management certification, EMA, and other standards offer distinct paths towards a greener future.

When it comes to implementing a globally accepted standard, our team at BCS, with their expertise, can provide invaluable guidance. We are an ISO certification consultancy with knowledgeable ISO consultants to make informed choices and achieve your environmental goals effectively. Get in touch with us to learn more about our services and how we can guide you to the right standard and help you acquire it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.