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What Is the ISO 14001 Certification and Why Is It Important?

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

MedLock | April 5, 2022

ISO 14001 Certification for Sustainable Business Management
ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems Certification
ISO 14001 Certification is an effective tool to help organizations reduce the environmental impact of daily business operations.

With growing demands for sustainable products and manufacturing practices, many companies are looking for ways to become more eco-friendly. Companies want to become more sustainable, but they also want to effectively demonstrate and communicate this to their key stakeholders. One way companies can do this is by completing the ISO 14001 Certification. In fact, Medlock is proud to share that we are currently achieving this certification.

But what is ISO 14001, how was it developed, and why is it important? This article will explore the answers to these questions.

Environmental Management Systems

ISO 14001 is part of a family of internationally agreed-upon requirements for what is known as an environmental management system. It is meant for companies of all sizes across all industries. The purpose of this certification is to help companies improve upon their environmental performance by using a specific framework. This includes considerations like:

  • Air pollution

  • Water and sewage issues

  • Waste management

  • Soil contamination

  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation

  • Resource use and efficiency

Through this certification, cannabis packaging companies can also learn to put systems in place to measure the environmental impact of daily operations and to identify ways to improve environmental performance.

ISO 14001 is an excellent way to provide employees, management, and additional stakeholders with assurance that their company is taking the appropriate actions to minimize the environmental impact of its business operations.

ISO’s goal for the 14001 certifications is that it becomes the go-to tool of choice for businesses looking to reduce the environmental impact of their business activities and to effectively tackle various environmental issues of importance through strategic thinking, plans, and action.

Globally, there are more than 300,000 ISO 14001 certificates in 171 countries. This supports the widespread use and acceptance of this certification.

How Was This Certification Developed?

To understand the credibility of ISO 14001, it is essential to know how these standards were developed. Specifically, the certification was established by a group of more than 70 active ISO participants and over 120 experts who contributed their vast knowledge to set the standards for ISO 14001.

The first iteration of ISO 14001 was established in 1996. Since then, many changes have been made to these requirements to reflect and address current environmental needs. Some of these changes include the following:

  1. An enhanced focus on integrating environmental issues into the strategic planning process and, in other words, encouraging ecological management as part of your business strategy.

  2. A stronger focus on leadership and the demands of leadership in modern-day organizations. There is now a greater need for those in leadership positions to be aware of and take action on various environmental issues.

  3. An increased emphasis on environmental protection. This means evaluating additional environmental factors like resource use and possible ecological demands of the organization.

  4. A significantly stronger emphasis on a company’s environmental performance. This includes ways to assess and measure environmental performance and effective ways to address impacting factors.

  5. The utilization of a life cycle perspective in that companies needs to look at the entire life cycle when considering environmental performance and impact. This means assessing the present status and putting a framework in place for future evolution.

  6. More effective and consistent communication. This is especially true for communication with stakeholders to better convey what actions are being taken to become a more environmentally-friendly enterprise.

  7. The digitization of documentation.

Companies with certifications before 2018 should consult the official ISO website to determine if certification renewal is required.

What are the Benefits of This Certification?

There are several critical benefits to completing this certification. Overall, ISO 14001 can help companies ensure they are not only meeting the necessary legal requirements for environmental policies but that they go beyond minimum requirements.

This certification should be viewed as a tool to ensure continued advancement and self-improvement concerning the environmental impact of an organization’s activities. In addition, ISO 14001 can easily be integrated with other ISO systems (e.g., ISO 900 for quality management, ISO 45001 for occupational health and safety, etc.).

According to ISO, the 14001 certifications can help organizations achieve the following benefits:

  • Establish compliance with both current and future statutory and regulatory requirements. This certification effectively communicates that an organization is taking credible action to engage in more sustainable practices.

  • Improve company reputation, thereby giving greater confidence to leadership, stakeholders, and employees through strategic communication of environmentally friendly practices.

  • Improve the involvement of company leadership for a more cohesive organization and provide an opportunity for increased employee engagement. This certification can effectively engage employees by providing education regarding environmental commitments and a chance to take an active role in becoming a more sustainable enterprise.

  • Incorporate concern for specific environmental issues into an organization’s business plan to achieve strategic goals effectively and efficiently.

  • Improve efficiencies and reduce costs to establish a competitive and financial advantage over other industry operators.

  • Stimulate enhanced environmental performance from suppliers by integrating them into the business systems of the organization.

Why Is ISO 14001 Important?

While having an accredited ISO 14001 certification is not a requirement to become an environmentally conscious and sustainable enterprise, it does have significant implications.

For example, having this certification means your company has been audited by a third party to determine that operations do meet the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard.

When you are ISO 14001 certified, this demonstrates to customers, suppliers, buyers, and other stakeholders that your company has an effective environmental management system in place based on a stringent empirical framework. Having the ISO 14001 certification can also be helpful when fulfilling contractual requirements surrounding environmentally friendly operations.

As mentioned, Medlock is currently undergoing the ISO 14001 certification process. We chose to pursue this as we are constantly looking for new ways to become agents of change, both within our industry and in the broader context of society.

While we have several pharmaceutical packaging solutions, we know sustainability goes beyond the materials used to manufacture a product. We hope that, with this certification, Medlock can continue to function and evolve into a more socially responsible enterprise.


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