What is 'ISO 14000'

ISO 14000 is a set of rules and standards to help companies reduce industrial waste and environmental damage. ISO 14000 is a framework for better environmental impact management, but it is not required. Companies can get ISO 14000 certified, yet, it's an optional certification. The ISO 14000 series of standards was first introduced in 1996 by the International Standards Organization (ISO). 

BREAKING DOWN 'ISO 14000'

ISO 14000 is part of a series of standards that address certain aspects of environmental regulations. It's meant to be a step-by-step format for setting, and then achieving, environmentally friendly objectives for business practices or products. The purpose is to help companies manage processes while minimizing environmental effects, whereas the ISO 9000 standards from 1987 was focused on the best management practices for quality assurance. The two can be implemented concurrently. 

ISO 14000 Standards 

ISO 14000 includes several standards that cover the aspects of managing the practices inside facilities, the immediate environment around facilities and the life cycle of the actual product. This includes understanding the impact of the raw materials used within the product, as well as the impact of product disposal.  

The most notable standard is ISO 14001, which lays out the guidelines for putting an environmental management system (EMS) in place. Then there's ISO 14004. This standard offers additional insight and specialized standards for implementing an EMS. 

Here are the key standards included in ISO 14000: 

  • ISO 14001: Specification of Environmental Management Systems
  • ISO 14004: Guideline Standard
  • ISO 14010 - ISO 14015: Environmental Auditing and Related Activities
  • ISO 14020 - ISO 14024: Environmental Labeling
  • ISO 14031 - ISO 14032: Environmental Performance Evaluation
  • ISO 14040 - ISO 14043: Life Cycle Assessment
  • ISO 14050: Terms and Definitions

ISO 14000 Certification 

ISO 14000 certification can be achieved by having an accredited auditor verify that all the requirements are met, or a company may self-declare. Obtaining the ISO 14000 certification can be considered a sign of a commitment to the environment, which can be used as a marketing tool for companies. It may also help companies meet certain environmental regulations. 

The other benefits include being able to sell products to companies that use ISO 14000 certified suppliers. Companies and customers may also pay more for products that are considered environmentally friendly. On the cost side, meeting the ISO 14000 standards can help reduce costs, as it encourages the efficient use of resources and limiting of waste. This may lead to finding ways to recycle products or new uses for previously disposed of byproducts.   

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