ISO 14001 Awarded to STAPLES Center

STAPLES Center has been awarded ISO 14001 Certification, making it the first U.S. arena to do so.  STAPLES Center is the downtown Los Angeles sports and entertainment arena.  Last month, we reported that the parent company of STAPLES Center, AEG released its first sustainability report on America Recycles Day, entitled AEG 1EARTH.  ISO 14001 complements this report.  But what does the ISO 14001 mean towards sustainability?

To give perspective, let’s go back more than half a century ago.  The International Standards Organization (ISO), was founded in 1947.  It acts as body for proprietary industrial and commercial standards.  Looking into the history of ISO, it appears to be quite an influential organization in many of the things we take for granted.

Standards ISO has put together range  from quantities and measurements (ISO 80000), to Compact Discs (ISO 9660), to quality management (ISO 10006).  This is only a small fraction of the countless standards ISO has mediated and created.

But the one we are most interested in is the one geared towards environmental sustainability, the ISO 14000 family.  There are about ten different aspects in the ISO 1400 family.  ISO 14001 in particular covers the environmental management system (EMS).  According to ISO, the ISO 14001:2004 enables an organization to:

  • identify and control the environmental impact of its activities, products or services, and to
  • improve its environmental performance continually, and to
  • implement a systematic approach to setting environmental objectives and targets, to achieving these and to demonstrating that they have been achieved.

What does ISO 14001 mean to STAPLES Center, or any facility for that fact?  On the transparency side, it shows the companies commitment to ensure facilities it owns and operates are run in the most sustainable way possible.  “Transparency is essential for the success of any corporate environmental program,” said Lee Zeidman, Senior Vice President and General Manager of STAPLES Center. “By making our environmental management systems available for third-party review, AEG and STAPLES Center are backing up our 1EARTH commitments with aggressive actions to limit our environmental footprint.”

But more importantly, ISO 14001 gives a framework for “a holistic, strategic approach” to any organizations environmental policy, plans, and actions.  Many a time, companies are looking for guidance on what needs to be to make the company greener and more sustainable.  ISO 14001 is just one many frameworks to follow.  Judging from the influence of past ISO standards, it may be one to note.

Let’s hope this is a beginning of a trend in the sports and entertainment arena industry.  These facilities are the centerpieces of many cities.  What better place to push sustainability forward, than at the places folks enjoy their favorite pastimes.

Jonathan Mariano is an MBA candidate with the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, CA. His interests include the convergence between lean & green and pursuing free-market based sustainable solutions.

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