The transition phase deadline for your Environmental Management System (EMS) to the latest revision of ISO 14001 is almost here (September 2018). Making this transition continues to challenge many organizations as they need to expand their views of how systems can become an even greater driver of environmental excellence. Themes of ‘taking a holistic approach’, ‘risk-based thinking’, and ‘organizational integration’ are all present throughout the standard – and one key element requires you to evaluate your EMS from these viewpoints, and document it in your Manual.
Context of the Organization is a new element for ISO 14001 that requires an approach to your EMS that you may not have considered previously. Asking organizations to look inward to assess and understand how your environmental programs fit into and provide value for the overall business is part of this new context approach. Achieving this understanding requires a commitment and involvement from upper management to make those clear ties between environmental performance and organizational success.
Enhancing the communication and integration between top management and environmental programs can provide a great deal of insight which may have been previously overlooked on how environmental aspects within an organization can be viewed as true business risks and opportunities. To complete this evaluation, context asks that you think about the external factors that currently (and that could potentially) influence how your organization makes strategic decisions. Consider competition, regulations, consumer trends. All of these topics play into how organizational decisions are made and can ultimately impact how effectively you can run your EMS.
Context evaluation demands a broader organizational view, and an understanding of how environmental programs are integrated into the overall business. Maintained communication with top management around this relationship leads to the opportunity for environmental programs to be viewed as a value adding function. It is understood, however, that this way of thinking was not always required of the environmental function, and environmental was not always integrated into top management.
If you’re struggling to identify where this added value can be realized, or with the building blocks of this element, please email Cristina Mendoza or call her at 774-249-2418 with any questions.
At CAPACCIO, we live our mission of “Helping Industry and the Environment Prosper”. We align EH&S with your overall business objectives to strategically position you for success. Our unique approach combines our extensive EH&S experience with cutting edge technologies, such as our EHS DashboardTM to effectively address your challenges. Our comprehensive solutions have resulted in award-winning EH&S and overall business performance for our clients. To learn more visit us at www.capaccio.com.