Environmental awareness is one of the biggest concerns everywhere and businesses need to take that seriously. There are many companies getting the ISO 14001 certification today to make an environmental management system (EMS) a core part of their business management. Being one of the international management standards, it specifies all essential regulations to manage minimizing environmental impact in businesses and ensure a sustainable future. However, successful implementation of an EMS in your business might compel you to face a few challenges including your strict corporate structure, resources, and cost constraints. Fortunately, with proper planning, implementation, continuous reviewing, and corrective actions, you can pass every hurdle in the ISO 14001 implementation.


Here are some of the challenges that you need to know about before implementing the ISO 14001 environmental management standard.



Time Consuming


Like any other ISO management standards, ISO 14001 is a comprehensive standard requiring a business to meet a vast number of regulations through their EMS. A lot of time has to be invested in designing and documenting the EMS. A number of factors have to be considered such as size and complexities of your business, the number of processes that have environmental impacts, materials or resources used that are toxic to the environment, and so on. Depending on all the requirements, it can take 3 to 4 months or sometimes even 9 to 12 months to be certified. However finding the right ISO consultants who can analyze your organization’s environmental aspects and related impacts can help. They can guide you throughout every stage with documentation and everything else while consulting your management officials so that there is less confusion enabling you to get certified sooner.


Integration with Other Certifications


ISO 14001 is the general environmental standard applicable to all businesses and of all sizes. One challenge that arises is regarding the integration of the ISO 14001 EMS with other management standards which are equally crucial for a business. For instance, R2 responsible recycling is a standard for electronic waste recycling agencies or organizations which need to be implemented along with EMS. The ISO 13485 standard is a quality management system (QMS) for medical devices which can be integrated with the ISO 14001 environmental standard or the ISO 50001 essential energy management standard. Each of these can  be integrated with environmental management.


Setting Goals


It is important to set goals for environmental management in your business. Decide the ultimate purpose of your environmental management framework and define targets for your employees.  Every business has its own limitations as well as capabilities and based on that they should form realistic goals for their environmental management. In theory, at this point, many businesses just decide some conventional or general goals for their EMS that are easy to attain and just for the sake of their attaining certification. However, given the expenses for certification, you should make sure to have realistic goals for maximizing your ROI on the ISO 14001 certification.


Relevant Legislative Regulations


Implementing ISO 14001 EMS usually requires businesses to align with local legislation than any other ISO management standards.  You need to have a deeper understanding of the environmental legislations and make sure to fulfill them to avoid penalties, legal suits, prosecution fees, and so on. There are huge costs involved indirectly in non-abidance of a company with legislative regulations which can cause damage to corporate image, loss of customers, lack of credibility with partners, and so on. Make sure you get the right team of consultants who can well provide you with insights and governmental regulations for the environment and help you to abide by them with your EMS.


Despite all the hurdles or challenges, you must consider the abundant benefits the ISO 14001 certification has to offer for your business. From minimizing your environmental impacts and assuring the sustainability of resources to saving up costs, there are a myriad of advantages the certification provides.  Indirectly it can also exhibit a company’s corporate reputation or credibility and give it a competitive advantage. It is hence judicious of you to tackle the challenges and pass through the certification process smoothly with assistance of consultants.

Author's Bio: 

The author is the managing director and owner of an ISO certification consultancy that assists businesses to get certified with the ISO 9001, ISO 27001, ISO 20000, ISO 14001 certification and many more. He is also a dedicated blog writer and mainly writes about the environmental management standard and the R2 responsible recycling standard.