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ISO 14000 family is a set of standards for improving environmental performance of organizations. This set of international standards includes other standards for environmental management systems. Before the ISO 14000 series was developed, organizations used to construct their own EMS systems voluntarily. This brought about difficulties in comparing the environmental effects that brought up by different companies, therefore, developing the universal ISO 14000. ISO defines an EMS as a part of the entire management system that involves the organizational structure, processes, procedures, and development resources. It also involves the development, implementation, achievement and maintenance of the environmental policy (Eccleston 2011). This paper will discuss ISO 14000 as the best environmental management standard system a processing company would employ.
As a meat-processing company, an increased profit by cost-reduction is certainly the most significant benefit ISO 14000 can bring to our company. Many processing companies are witnessing that an EMS can help reduce the energy and quantity of materials used to for making products if the management system included analysis of the raw materials, the byproduct and waste. One can highly minimize the quantity of the materials needed as inputs, byproducts and wastes by making changes to the product design, formulation, manufacturing and packaging processes (ISO 2011). This will consequently reduce the costs incurred for inputs. Pollution is one of the costs incurred in this company. ISO 14000 improves in cost-saving in that one of its requirements is that every employee in the company should be knowledgeable about pollution prevention and his/her role in it.
In this country, the government designs several laws and regulations concerning the environment protection. If not observed, they may carry criminal or financial penalties. ISO14000 requires that the working processes evidently maintain compliance with the existing laws. These processes help the certified companies identify where they are not in compliance and hence take action. Improved compliance with regulatory and legislative requirements helps reduce remediation and penalty costs.
Additionally, waste management is crucial for the processing industry. Most of the waste is hazardous since it is a product of chemical processes. The general benefits accruing from a company’s pollution reduction and minimization of hazardous waste with the help of ISO 14000 has a positive impact on the society- natural resources last longer; landfills get less waste while water; soil and air are cleaner. Societal benefits indirectly benefit the company that is a part of it.
Some of the weaknesses of ISO14000 is that its implementation is a tedious and expensive process which takes much time and resources. Though the standards are voluntary, some countries take ISO14000 as a regulatory requirement and this can lead to a trade barrier between such countries and those that do not authorize it. However, these weaknesses are fewer than the large number of strengths and environmental benefits the EMS has.
ISO 14000 and ISO 9000 are similar in that they concern the process of producing a product; not about the product itself. However, ISO 9000 is awarded by a third party organization rather than ISO directly (Williams 2007).
In conclusion, ISO 14000 environmental management standards is the best environment management system the company I work for can employ compared to other existing EMS. From the study, it is evident that ISO 14000 standards exists to help the organization minimize how its operations and processes negatively affect the environment; to comply with the applicable regulations, laws and other environmental requirements and lastly helps the organization to continually improve on them. This is vital for any processing company.