ISO 14001 Certification Shown to Provide Competitive Edge, Report Finds

By Robert Fenn

Certification to the ISO 14001 environmental management standard has been shown to help organizations win business, according to the evidence shown in the British Assessment Bureau’s 2013 Client Satisfaction Survey.

The British Assessment Bureau, a U.K.-based certification body, commissioned their survey early in 2014, which was carried out independently by Lake Market Research. Respondents with ISO 14001 certification were asked for their motivations behind implementing the standard, followed by what they had achieved having successfully gained certification.

A large proportion of respondents said the standard’s ability to help them win new business was a major motivation in deciding to implement the standard, with 50 percent saying it was to help them with tenders or obtain new business. In addition to this, 39 percent of respondents said that the standard would help them meet customer or industry requirements, and a further 12 percent chose ISO 14001 as a way of raising their profile.

ISO 14001 certification demonstrates that an organization had its environmental credentials verified by an independent third party, and provides a framework for people to reduce energy consumption and waste, while improving recycling and legal compliance. As a result, ISO 14001 is often stipulated by procurement departments as a way of ensuring suppliers meet a recognized environmental standard.

When asked how ISO 14001 certification had benefited their organizations, mirroring their motivations, 43 percent of respondents said that it had helped them win new business or made them more successful in tenders. This was a 19 percent increase in change from the British Assessment Bureau’s 2012 survey, indicating that ISO 14001 is becoming more important in the eyes of buying authorities.

Further to these results, 18 percent said that ISO 14001 certification allowed them to tender for new work and 16 percent said certification had raised their profile, showing further promise that the standard could be the key to realising new business opportunities.

This news follows a series of reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showing that humans are unequivocally to blame for climate change. The reports, approved by 194 governments around the world, resulted in a number of new targets being set. Over the coming years, this will impact all organizations as they are asked to do their bit for the environment as pressure from supply chains grows.

Already, the International Organization for Standardization – the body responsible for ISO standards – has indicated that ISO 14001 is growing on a worldwide level, with 6 percent growth shown in their latest survey. With ISO 14001 set to be revised and updated in 2015, the standard is set to be become the proven way for organizations to demonstrate that they take environmental management seriously.

Do you think the ISO 14001 environmental standard has gained momentum? Join the conversation in the comments below, or via Twitter @TriplePundit

Image credit: iStockPhoto

Robert Fenn is a Director at the British Assessment Bureau, a UK based Certification Body. Robert is an experienced speaker and writer on sustainability and corporate responsibility within the business world.

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