Going Green: The Rise of ISO 14000 Series

Global environment concerns have increased awareness of IT companies on how they are handling their natural resources.  The concerns have caused governments to create laws and regulatory standards regarding everything from usage of resources to waste controls.  ISO 14001 is an international specification for environmental management systems.  The implementation of ISO 14000 is often done in conjunction with ISO 9000 since both speak to the processes of a system rather than the system itself.

The 14000 series has two major specifications:  14001 and 14004.  The first is the standard that organizations are assessed.  The standard requires a company to put processes in place to identify and control the environmental impact of its activities, products, and services.  Continual improvement must be made to the company’s environmental performance supported by a systematic approach to setting and achieving objectives.  The standard does not define what level of environmental performance a company should have.

ISO 14004 is a guide that goes into further depth of the 14001 requirements.  It specifically offers a structured approach to setting objectives and  establishing controls for an environmental management system.

Since 14001 is generic in its requirements and some industries have to comply to more stringent controls based on their business, additional standardsl in the 14000 series can be found.