The most elaborate EMS standard is the International Standards Organization's 14001, which includes a
third-party certification requirement.
The International Standards Organization, or ISO, has been developing voluntary technical
standards over most sectors of business, industry and technology since 1947. Many of ISO's standards have to do with pins, rivets and screws, but
recent consumer and government pressure on industry has encouraged ISO to develop voluntary standards relating to the quality
and environmental performance of products. ISO 140001, produced in 1996,
includes the "Environmental Management System", which was set up to guarantee that
an operation has taken the environmental impacts of its activities into consideration, has a plan for mitigating environmental harm,
is keeping track of its performance and is dedicated to improvement. Increasingly, governments and
businesses around the world are recognizing the need for environmental
management in production. The ISO 14001 offers a harmonized environmental standard
applying to all types of industry, regardless of size, scope or location.
How can farmers use ISO 14001?
ISO 14001 is the most formal EMS, and contains a third-party certification procedure.
With third-party audits, farmers gain credible documentation of environmental performance. This reliable documentation can be critical
in public relations as well as helpful in access to markets (especially export markets) and premium prices.
|What are specific ISO 14001 requirements?
- The creation of an Environmental Policy specific to each operation, that:
- is appropriate to the nature and scale of environmental impacts;
- includes a commitment to continual improvement and to preventing pollution;
- includes a commitment to comply with relevant environmental regulations;
- includes a way of setting environmental objectives; and
- is communicated to all employees and implemented.
- A Plan that reviews legislative and regulatory requirements, significant environmental aspects such as emissions to air, water and land and their impact on
communities, local environmental issues, the use of natural resources and raw materials, and the waste/resource stream. The plan establishes a system to
achieve objectives and targets, and to maintain documentation of progress toward them.
- Operational implementation that
- defines and communicates roles, responsibilities, and authorities;
- provides adequate training and skills for all personnel;
- maintains information on operating procedures, site emergency plans, etc.;
- controls all documents needed for effective implementation of the plan, and
- effects accident prevention and response procedures.
- Checking and corrective action that
- monitors and measures key characteristics of those procedures that can have a significant impact on the environment;
- documents procedures for handling problems and for initiating corrective and preventative action;
- establishes and maintains procedures for keeping environmental records; and
- conducts periodic internal environmental audits