Oct 26, 2017

Convincing management to support an ISO 14001 project

If you are a department or project manager, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the process of having to convince the company’s top management that a project is worthwhile when they believe the project has a low priority, or that funds could be better spent elsewhere.

When you have to engage with top management in this process to convince them that implementing ISO 14001 will be good for the company, it’s always a good idea to know all the relevant details why any organization nowadays should implement it, and also what the benefits of accreditation will be for your company.

Why do we want to implement ISO 14001?

Some of the benefits of implementing ISO 14001 are obvious, but there are many others that you might miss at first glance. The list below shows the key benefits you could use when discussing this with the management team.

  • Reduce environmental impact. Every person on this planet is responsible for ensuring that the environment is protected, both for ourselves and for future generations. I’m sure you understand and agree with this statement, and so should your management team.
  • Cost benefits. If there is one thing that all management teams have in common, it is that they love saving money and reduce costs, and if you can show them that this is what implementing ISO 14001 will do, half the battle is won. Implementing an Environmental management system (EMS) will increase efficiency and reduce wastage. As the implementation will foster a process approach, the cost benefits will be tangible and measurable.
  • Customer credibility. An organization’s credibility and image will be greatly enhanced when it is known that they comply with environmental legislation. Some huge enterprise will even go so far as insisting that their suppliers have ISO 14001 accreditation before being willing to do business with them. Being ISO 14001 accredited will enhance your credentials substantially when next you deal with a prospective client, or are using a defined bidding channel.
  • Compliance with legislation. Not knowing what the law requires of you is never a valid excuse for breaking it. Don’t get caught and fined for something that you were not aware of. Do research on your company’s compliance obligation and make sure you have everything in place to prove that you are compliant.

This list gives some excellent reasons why any company should strive for ISO 14001 accreditation, but there are a number of additional arguments that could be used when you need to convince top management.

Need more ammo?

Two of the most important aspects of any business are cash flow and finance. If you therefore try to justify the cost of ISO 14001 accreditation to top management, it’s highly likely that they’ll scrutinize the costs. Whether you’re aware of it or not, chances are that you’ll already have most (if not all) of the skills required for an environmental management system available within the company. You might already have a quality department in your company. If that’s the case, find out how much they know about an EMS. If you then look at the skills and knowledge available in your sales, customer service and production teams, and you’re able to utilize that, the cost of implementing an EMS will be reduced dramatically.

Implementing an EMS has many secondary benefits that you’ll be able to unlock and capitalize on.

Secondly, there are many potential related benefits. Managing your supply chain in an environmentally efficient manner, can also have huge benefits. Your protection of the environment is multiplied, and sometimes a supplier who enjoys reduced wastage and costs will pass the benefits back to the customer in an attempt to remain as competitive as possible. Therefore, in summary, your organization may be able to reduce costs and increase margins at both ends of its supply chain.

Clinching the deal with management

The information presented has looked at how an ISO 14001 project could provide compliance, financial and reputational benefits to your company, and we have suggested various ways in which you could gather the required information. Once you have done this, it’s time to arrange a meeting with top management and present your case.

Thousands of companies across the globe have embarked on this journey by building their own internal EMS. An ancient proverb goes something like this: “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, and the second best time is now.” If you are able to convince your management team to go the ISO 14001 route, you will have planted a tree and in the process, saved many more trees in the future. Would that not be something both you and your management team could be proud of?

ISO 9001 quality management systems (QMS) are implemented using MyEasyISO software in Stockholm (Sweden), while ISO 14001 & OHSAS 18001 Health Safety Management Systems (HSE) are implemented with MyEasyISO in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

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