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So, there would be lesser availability of resources to help with environmental stewardship. Not only that, but there is no clear process in order to determine what to do as it pertains to this subject. Although the bulk of the standard allows for efficient communication and understanding with the company/organization, it has little clear instructions or details as it pertains to environmental stewardship, therefore limiting its use.
IV. ISO 14000
A. Historical background
The ISO 14000 series of environmental management standards is meant to aide organizations in management of the environmental effect of their business practices. The ISO 14000 series and ISO 9000 series are very similar with the ISO 9000 series being published in 1987. ISO or International Organization for Standardization was in charge of their publication and intended for ISO to encourage and become a viable platform for international trade and cooperation in various areas such as: commercial, intellectual, scientific and economic endeavors. They achieve this through the development of international standards.
ISO's original purpose was to focus on industrial and mechanical engineering standards. One of the reasons ISO 14000 was initially developed was due in part to a response to the increasing concern over the preservation and condition of the enviornment as well as the GATT negotiations. An example of this would be the 1992 Rio Conference on the environment. Presently it's main focus is developing and maintaining standards for an organization's policies, processes and practices.
Some critics comment the lack of efficacy of ISO 14000 in preventing organizations from damaging the environment. The reason being the need for third-party certification. The certification process, viewed by some, appears to be unfair, needing a substantial amount of documentation and require the need for organizations to dedicate a lot of time and personnel. The proponents argue the practice of these standards yields economic benefits such as the opening of new markets and development of streamlined procedures, leading to profit gain.
B. Benefits for use with environmental stewardship
Costs acquired by a company attributed to going through the ISO processes vary. It all depends on the scope of the Environmental Management System (EMS). An instance of this is the companies limits and availability. It could be international, national, or pertaining to individual plants operated by a certain company. So environmental audits might end up being costly or not. It may prove to be costy if the company is on a national or international level.
When discusing the benefits for use with environmental stewardship, companies may notice cost savings they never realized of beforehand. An example of this would be an insurance company giving "reduced rates on insurance to cover accidental pollution releases to a company that has a proven environmental management system in place." (Stenzel, 2003, p. 1) When referring to the internal structure and organization of the company, cost savings may be applied as a result of was reduction and recycling.
As some might also state, like developing countries, they suggest environmental standards generated by ISO 14000 may "constitute non-tariff barriers to trade in that costs of ISO 14000 registration may be prohibitively high for small- to medium-size companies." (Stenzel, 2003, p. 1) ISO 1400 also has the potential of becoming a benchmark with that encompasses good environmental stewardship by a company. To have association with this bodes well for any company.
C. Limitations for use with environmental stewardship
Environmental steward presents various concerns with adminstrating and handlng issues related to legalities and regulations. Limitations for use with environmental stewardship include various tasks. One aspect of ensuring environmental stewardship involves the continual maintenance of an organizational awareness in regards to legal concerns as well as other requirements. Regulations are subject to change almost all the time and it is the task of the company to keep up with the demands of these changes.
Regulatory agencies enforce new regulations often. A company especially in connection with environmental stewardship, must stay current when it comes to compliance requirements. Another ever-evolving aspect is facility operations and their continual need to be periodically reviewed. This ensures that operations subject to regulation are handled and assessed in compliance with any pertaining regulations. Identifying and maintaining awareness of these requirements is crucial, but also tedious and can be at times costly.
To add to that legal requirements also must be handled. Use of specialists who each keep updated on regulatory changes allow for their specialty areas to evolve as needed. Regulatory changes must not only be identified, but also communicated upward or across their respective organizations. This allows further dissemination among maintenance, construction and environmental staff.
D. Potential overlap with safety management
When a company wishes to integrate ISO 1400 with other management systems an effort must be made in regards to developing a strong commitment to environmental responsibility. It should then be the company's mission to promote awareness of environmental issues as well as provide safety in regards to carrying out the tasks needed to fufill their mission. When attempting to handle these issues, potential overlap with safety management may occur.
Communication is key in understanding and developing a clear philosophy. Clearly defined and expressed environmental policies, programs, objectives, and targets allows for smooth and effective progress . If a company is successful when administering this phase, it allows an organization to not only mainstream, but also fully integrate the EMS into their business. So in reality, safety and EMS standards would go hand in hand. The following list of items allows for companies/organizations to see what entails the initial phase, helping evaluate enviornmental issues as well as safety requirements.
Documentation of the list of chemicals in the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
Reports prepared for hazard and operability studies
Chemicals listed in the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) chemical substances inventory
Process safety management rules often implemented in manufacturing facilities
Examination of Form Rs and Tier I and Tier II reports submitted under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA)
Contingency or vulnerability studies completed relative to critical systems and equipment
Data from risk management studies
Data from corrective action reports, especially data from preventative maintenance programs and inspections
Maintenance records (Dash Inspectorate Pvt Ltd., 2013, p. 1)
In conclusion, the ISO standard series, both the ISO 9000 and the ISO 14000 are based on the needs of industry and consumers. ISO allows for the standards to be formed through the opinion of these groups, allowing for continual innovation and improvement. Although the documentation and requirement process of ISO can be demanding, time has proven ISO standards provide a multitude of benefits to companies/organizations as well as consumers. The standards focus on customer satisfaction, continual improvement, communication, and enviornmental consideration allows for higher company profitability.
Consumers are happy and companies are happy because they can employ better workers at the same time improve their public image through environmental protection. Most people agree that although the ISO standards are difficult at times, they lead to successful management and higher gains. Without the ISO series, most in the industry would fail to understand what they need to improve upon. They would also ignore the need for conservation of the environment.
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