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ISO 14001

ISO 14001: 2015 Environmental Management System Certificate

ISO 14001 Environmental Management System

Why do we need an Environmental Management System?

The Earth is under great threat. Among these threats caused by industrialization and rapid population growth are erosion, toxic wastes, depletion of natural resources, deterioration of ecological balance, decreasing biodiversity, experiencing climate imbalances due to greenhouse effect, global warming and thinning of ozone layer.

In order to prevent these threats, environmental risks and opportunities need to be managed more efficiently and with more cytematic methods. This can only be achieved through a properly implemented Environmental Management System.

The environment is not just an environment in which people live and offer continuous resources to ensure this. Enterprises in various sectors use the resources obtained from the environment while producing. However, these resources should not be considered unlimited. If the resources are exhausted one day, the environment will start to pollute and the most damages will be caused by living things. It also means that businesses will no longer be able to find resources for production.

On these dangerous developments 1972 held the Stockholm Conference. The main subject of this conference is to create environmental awareness in the world. Communities and countries need to comply with the principles of environmental protection. Following this conference, 20 held the Rio Summit this time after the break of the year. In this meeting, the concept of sustainable development was emphasized and discussions on how to implement it were made.

The important point is that development can be achieved without polluting the environment. For this purpose, on the one hand people and businesses engaged in production activities have important duties.

All businesses are now aware that sustainable development and environmental protection requirements are among the most important issues for the industry. All businesses have to put these two concepts between their priorities and formulate and implement their policies and programs in parallel.

Environmental problems can only be overcome if an environmentally sensitive approach is adopted and implemented. This approach is an approach based on the environment in all activities of the enterprises, minimizing the damage to the environment, changing the production processes in this direction, using correct and new technologies, educating its employees to be sensitive to the environment and realizing new projects aiming to protect the environment.

Environmental decisions should always be prioritized in the decisions of business management and appropriate system and business processes should be developed in order to implement the decisions.

What is the Environmental Management System?

Environmental Management System is not a control system. It is a system that responds to the responsibilities of enterprises in terms of environmental conditions. This system is also a system that reduces environmental risks and creates competitive opportunities. Efficient use of water, energy and other raw material resources used in production is a factor that reduces costs in all enterprises but especially in small and medium sized enterprises.

Consumers are much more conscious today than before. It pays attention and demands that the products they purchase provide more recycling opportunities, produce less waste, use renewable resources more in production and make products more reliable for the ecosystem. In order to avoid lagging behind these demands, businesses develop a more environmentally sensitive management approach.

The Environmental Management System has been developed to enable enterprises operating in various sectors to manage environmental dimensions, develop and implement environmental policies. The ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standards published by the International Standards Organization (ISO) do not replace the existing environmental regulations. However, it is an important guide for businesses.

First of all, the system aims to detect and control the harmful activities of the enterprises for the environment. In the meantime, of course, if there are important environmental opportunities, it aims to identify them.

An important objective of the system is to comply with the principles of existing legal regulations. It makes it easier for businesses to act in accordance with legal regulations in this respect.

The Environmental Management System also aims to determine the priorities of enterprises, to establish environmental policies and environmental targets and to create and implement programs to achieve this.

As with all quality management systems, continuous improvement of the system is essential. It is extremely important to adapt the system depending on changing conditions and requirements.

In order for the system to achieve these goals, first of all, management support and commitment should be provided. Any system that senior management does not support and follow does not provide the expected benefits. Likewise, the participation of employees in the system is also important. Employees should be aware of the environment, be aware of environmental problems and believe in their practices.

Integration with other systems applied in the enterprise is also important for the success of the Environmental Management System. This system is not a stand-alone system. In the meantime, the company should focus on work in all processes within the scope of its activities and concentrate on the necessary test, measurement, analysis and evaluation studies in areas where the results of the activities affect the environmental conditions.

Environmental Management System is known as ISO 14001 standard all over the world and it is based on ISO 9000 Quality Management System standard. Therefore, international recognition and implementation has been very fast.

Is the Environmental Management System a Costly System?

Establishment, implementation and improvement works of the Environmental Management System in enterprises create a certain cost. However, as a result of the improvement works carried out, the enterprises provide significant productivity gains, waste reduction, reuse and natural resource and raw material savings. Therefore, the expenditures made provide a significant return to the enterprises.

The preparation period of the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System to certification studies varies depending on the size of the enterprise, the complexity of its processes and whether the activities of the enterprise are critical in terms of environmental conditions. It is therefore not easy to give an appropriate time for the certification preparation phase. Nevertheless, according to information received from certification bodies, approximately 20 percent of enterprises complete preparatory work in six or less. A percentage close to 60 completes these studies between 7-12 months. A percentage of 20 completes over the month.

In fact, the length of the preparatory work depends entirely on the contribution of the employees. In general, changing habits and adapting to a new working method takes time from the daily work habits to the new way of doing business. In general, the resistance of those working on these issues is faced.

If enterprises have already established and managed other systems such as ISO 9001 Quality Management System or OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System, it is much faster to establish, adopt and comply with ISO 14001 Environmental Management System. Moreover, it is possible to use some components of the existing systems for the environmental management system.

Establishment of Environmental Management System

The most important step to be taken when setting up an Environmental Management System is to receive the support of senior management. This point was mentioned above. The second important step to be taken by the senior management is to appoint the Management Representative to carry out these activities. The Management Representative should be a person who has the necessary competencies in the operation, knows the structure and activities of the enterprise, is knowledgeable about the environment and has received the necessary training and has a certain skill in project management.

The Management Representative must first prepare a business plan and a budget for environmental management work. He must then form a working group. This working group should consist of persons from different positions in different units of the enterprise. The main task of the working group is to identify and assess the current situation.

Businesses who want to set up the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, if this is the first time they are engaged in this business, it is useful to carry out a preliminary environmental review. Although it is not among the requirements of the standard, the environmental dimensions of the enterprise are revealed by a study to be conducted in this direction. Already during certification audits, it is not checked whether this study has been conducted or not. Nevertheless, if preliminary environmental review is carried out, the results of this will be utilized during the system installation phase. Otherwise, if this study has not been conducted, unexpected nonconformities may be detected during certification studies. In this case, revising and changing environmental strategies once again will result in labor and time losses.

Preliminary environmental review studies can be carried out using operating resources or by outsourcing. If existing resources are to be used, it is possible to benefit from the experience of the employees. At the same time, the cost of work becomes lower and controllable.

The preliminary environmental review highlights the following: What is the function of each unit in the plant? Are the relevant legal regulations well known? Are domestic and foreign standards well known? What are the raw materials and chemical substances used in production? How much energy is consumed? What are the types and quantities of waste? Are there hazardous wastes in the waste? Any emergency plans? Are there any extraordinary events? What are the training needs of each unit in the enterprise?

In accordance with the annex of the ISO 14001 standard, the preliminary review shall cover the following four main areas (Annex A1):

  • Determination of the legal regulations in force that the enterprise has to comply with
  • Determination of the normal operating conditions of the enterprise, abnormal conditions such as commissioning and deactivation, and environmental aspects of accidents including accidents
  • Examination of the current environmental management practices and processes of the enterprise including procurement and contract activities
  • Assessment of accidents and emergencies to date

One of the basic requirements of the ISO 14001 standard is that the enterprise complies with environmental regulations. Areas where legal regulations have been violated need to be improved first. According to the standard, preliminary environmental review studies are carried out on the following basis:

  • Area, facilities and equipment (current status and new or planned)
  • Environmental impacts (water, soil and groundwater, soot, smoke, dust, gas, steam and aerosol emissions, odor, noise and vibration, energy and waste)
  • accidents
  • Materials (raw materials and production materials, packaging materials and cost and savings)
  • Product (design, packaging, use, disposal and cost and savings)
  • Transport
  • Existing Environmental Management System elements

Implementation of ISO 14001 Environmental Management System

The structure of this standard is organized under the following headings:

  • General conditions (Article 4.1)
  • Environmental policy (Article 4.2)
  • Planning (Article 4.3)
  • Implementation and activities (Article 4.4)
  • Checking (Article 4.5)
  • Management review (Article 4.6)

Article 4.1: General Conditions

According to the General Conditions of the Standard, the enterprise should establish, prepare, implement, maintain and continuously improve the Environmental Management System in accordance with all the conditions in the standard. The objective of the standard is to provide the company with improved environmental performance. Businesses must determine the scope of this system and make it written.

Article 4.2: Environmental Policy

According to the standard, senior management has to determine the environmental policies of the enterprise. In general, the characteristics of an environmental policy should be:

  • The scope of the Environmental Management System should be consistent with the definition, size and environmental impact of the entity's activities, products or services.
  • The enterprise's environmental policies should include a commitment and continuous improvement to prevent environmental pollution.
  • It must include a commitment that the entity will comply with the environmental regulations and other necessary regulatory requirements for which it must comply.
  • It should include objectives and targets for environmental protection and provide a framework for reviewing them.
  • Environmental policies should be written down, kept up-to-date, and communicated to employees and all relevant persons working on behalf of the entity.
  • At the same time, environmental policies should be accessible to anyone interested outside the enterprise.

In short, the environmental policies to be determined by enterprises should include three basic commitments: continuous improvement, pollution prevention and compliance with legal regulations.

Article 4.3: Planning

  • Article 4.3.1: Environmental dimensions
  • Article 4.3.2: Legal and other requirements
  • Article 4.3.3: Objectives, objectives and program (s)

The first step of planning is to determine the environmental dimensions. The annex of the standard (Appendix 3A) describes the perimeter dimensions. In determining their environmental dimensions, enterprises should take into account the activities and products and services they carry out and past in the past and planned developments in the future. Because environmental dimensions have to be taken into consideration in a new product, service or process and show continuity.

Environmental impacts include: emissions to air, wastes to water, wastes to soil, use of energy, raw materials and natural resources, energy emission (such as radiation, heat and vibration), emissions to the environment due to an accident (smoke and toxic gas) , chemical, solvent or fuel leak).

The next step is to evaluate the environmental dimensions. Because some of these may have significant effects on the environment. The standard emphasizes the importance of impact at this point. However, there is no method to evaluate the environmental dimensions in the standard. Businesses will determine the importance of environmental dimensions according to their own methods. Environmental risk is taken as a basis to determine its significance. Risk refers to the likelihood of occurrence and possible consequences when it occurs. There is a high risk if it is unlikely to occur, but if the consequences are large, for example, causing serious environmental pollution, or losing market share to the business or causing the business to be fined.

Article 4.4: Implementation and Activities

  • Article 4.4.1: Resources, tasks, responsibility and authority
  • Article 4.4.2: Expertise, training and awareness
  • Article 4.4.3: Contact
  • Article 4.4.4: Documentation
  • Article 4.4.5: Control of documents
  • Article 4.4.6: Control of activities
  • Article 4.4.7: Emergency preparedness and response

In order to fulfill the requirements of the ISO14001 standard and consequently to implement the system effectively, the entity must identify the responsibilities related to the Environmental Management System and announce it throughout the enterprise. In order to implement an effective Environmental Management System, the roles and responsibilities of the employees and top management should be determined and the organization chart should be revised accordingly. Organizational chart is an important tool in guiding environmental responsibilities.

When the Environmental Management System is introduced, there will be changes in some ongoing applications. This change needs to be explained and adopted by all employees. In this respect, training planning and training will be useful in understanding the requirements of the standard, adopting environmental policies, clarifying behavior in emergencies and raising awareness on the environmental aspects and impacts of activities.

In addition, effective internal communication helps to increase the motivation of the employees, to carry out the activities considering the environmental conditions and to understand the responsibility and business processes well. The suggestions of the employees to improve the system are highly effective. Communication should be in the form of a mutual flow between senior management and employees.

Another important point is the documentation studies. All documents prepared within the scope of the Environmental Management System should be printed and published in electronic medium and should basically cover the following documents:

  • Environmental policy principles, objectives and targets determined by the enterprise
  • Scope of Environmental Management System
  • An Environmental Manual similar to the Quality Manual prepared in the Quality Management System
  • Documents required by ISO 14001 standard, including all records to be kept
  • Other documents prepared with the aim of ensuring the effective planning, operation and control of the business processes

Businesses must attach importance to the documentation they provide in order to ensure that their operations are maintained as required by the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard. The methods for carrying out the works are determined by the Environmental Manual and related procedures and instructions. Through the process of checking documents, it is ensured that the correct and effective documents are in the right people.

Document control activities are targeted by:

  • Confirmation of the documents prepared
  • Review and revise these documents if necessary
  • Employees have up-to-date documents
  • Dismissal of outdated documents
  • Identifying and controlling the distribution of necessary external documents

Deficiencies in activities related to environmental aspects may have a negative impact on the company's environmental policy or may lead to deviations from the objectives and targets related to the environment. Procedures for the control of activities should be prepared in order to control these situations. The activities to be taken under control should be decided by considering the important environmental dimensions of the enterprise.

Finally, enterprises should establish emergency preparedness and response procedures in order to identify possible accidents, emergencies and response methods that will have negative impacts on the environment. Emergencies are events that affect the capacity of businesses to do business and have the potential to stop and have a major impact. In addition, such procedures should be reviewed at regular intervals and tested regularly. Risk analysis forms the basis of emergency response plans. It is not right to prepare an emergency plan without risk analysis in an enterprise. Businesses should prepare an emergency plan by assessing their specific risks.

Article 4.5: Checking

  • Article 4.5.1: Monitoring and measuring
  • Article 4.5.2: Assessment of conformity
  • Article 4.5.3: Nonconformity, corrective action and preventive action
  • Article 4.5.4: Control of records
  • Article 4.5.5: Internal audit

Businesses must periodically monitor and measure the main characteristics of activities that create significant environmental impacts. Monitoring and measuring procedures are therefore needed. Environmental impacts are taken under control through monitoring and measurement studies and the results of production processes and Environmental Management System studies are verified. The purpose of monitoring is to check whether the planned processes are being carried out as planned. For example, if it is stated that the company's hazardous waste storage areas should be inspected every week, this is a monitoring study. Measurement studies are carried out to determine the measured, calculated or estimated numerical values ​​of the activities. For example, in wastewater treatment plants, measurement studies are carried out to determine oxygen content, pH value, number of bacteria or temperature value. Within the scope of monitoring and measurement studies, compliance with environmental regulations should be evaluated regularly.

The assessment of conformity assesses the entity's compliance with established legal requirements, including permits and licenses in force. In the meantime, according to the standard, the necessary corrective and preventive action processes should be established and implemented in case of real and possible non-compliance. Preventive studies, which are the general approach in quality systems, are both easy and cheap compared to the studies to be done to correct these problems.

Measures taken according to the ISO 14001 standard must be consistent with the magnitude of the problems and the environmental impacts they create. In addition, the results of the corrective and preventive actions taken must be recorded.

According to the article on the control of records of the standard, it is necessary to establish and maintain a separate procedure for the creation, storage, preservation, correction, retention period and destruction of the records required to be kept in accordance with the Environmental Management System. These records are used as evidence after the realization of the processes and dependence on people is eliminated. It also states that the enterprise conducts the Environmental Management System as designed. It is also used to prove the compliance of the entity's activities with legal regulations.

Some of the records kept in the Environmental Management System are: legal obligations, permits and licenses, records of important environmental aspects, environmental objectives and targets, environmental accident reports, corrective and preventive actions, management review meeting reports, audit reports, training records, customers , supplier records and other persons and organizations contact records, calibration records, production-related information, product-related information, inspection and maintenance records and inspection results.

An important aspect of the Environmental Management System is internal audits. Internal audit studies are conducted to determine whether the conditions of the standard are in compliance with the procedures prepared or whether activities are carried out in accordance with the procedures and inform the management about the results. In short, internal audit activities have three objectives: to evaluate the performance of the Environmental Management System within the scope of the objectives and objectives of the enterprise, to meet the requirements of the standard and to meet the requirements of the enterprise itself. It is important to identify environmental nonconformities in internal audit studies. For this reason, the internal auditors should be familiar with the Environmental Management System and the ISO 14001 standard and be knowledgeable about the environment.

Article 4.6: Management Review

The most important point of the ISO 14001 standard and the Environmental Management System is the review of the Environmental Management System to be carried out by the top management in order to ensure the continuity of this system to be appropriate, sufficient and effective. These studies are a very important key for the company to fulfill its commitment to continuous development. The following three factors are effective in management review studies:

  • Environmental Management System audit results
  • Changing conditions
  • Commitment to continuous improvement

In the light of these factors, the necessary changes and improvements in the environmental policies, objectives and other elements of the system are decided.

The management review meetings should be attended by people from decision-making positions in the business. How often these meetings will take place depends entirely on the business decision. In general, these meetings should be held at least once a year as enterprises prepare their targets and budgets annually.

The management review meetings mainly address the following issues:

  • Results of internal audit studies, suggestions for corrective and preventive actions and whether these have been realized
  • Notices from outside the enterprise and how they are assessed, including complaints, within the enterprise's environmental management system
  • Decisions taken at the previous management review meeting and actual activities
  • Whether the specified environmental goals and objectives have been achieved, if not, the causes of failure
  • Whether the authorities and responsibilities related to the Environmental Management System in the enterprise are clear
  • Whether resources are used effectively
  • Whether the procedures prepared are sufficient
  • Whether the development of the Environmental Management System is monitored
  • Whether there is a new change in the relevant regulations, and if so, how these new regulations affect the system
  • What else can be done to further improve the Environmental Management System?

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