Reducing waste, costs, and risk

Reducing waste, costs, and risk

How we achieved ISO14001 – the international environment standard

How we achieved ISO14001 – the international environment standard

In June this year we met the international environmental standard for organisations – ISO14001. Here is why we did this, how it works, and the benefits of accreditation.

We wanted to find out about the environmental impact of our business and become more aware – create a more efficient, conscious use of resources. Our environmental policy includes commitments to manage our resources and ways of working to minimise our carbon footprint and environmental impact and increase our volume of environmentally focused work.

To help us achieve this and structure our approach, we gave ourselves the target of meeting the environmental standard for organisations. Called ISO 14001, it is an internationally agreed standard that sets out the requirements for an environmental management system.

Meeting the standard has two major benefits:

  • It helps us to improve continuously our environmental performance by, for example, reducing our carbon footprint and increasing our volume of environmentally focused work.
  • It gives our stakeholders, commissioners, and contractors the confidence and assurance that we are committed to sustainability and the management of environmental impact.

To meet the standard, we built our own environmental management system by going through the following steps:

  1. Plan – Setting out our plan of action
  2. Do – Breaking the plan of action into tasks, identifying who is responsible for what task, and setting out the process for delivering each task
  3. Check – Checking and reviewing that we have done what we said we would do to meet the standard
  4. Act – Identifying areas for improvement

Here is a flow chart showing in a bit more detail how our environmental system follows the Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle in achieving continuous improvement:

In June, our Environmental Management System was audited by the British Assessment Bureau and met the standard. Now that we have system in place, we will use it as a road map for delivering and continuously improving our environmental policy. The standard is audited annually.

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