Tag: sustainability

ISO 14001:2015 – Who Needs Environmental Management?

aa6efe67-5c6a-4d07-862e-1cb1ab7145a4-largeThe quality industry is buzzing this week as the International Organization for Standardization released the latest revision of the ISO 14001 environmental management standard.

“ISO 14001:2015 is an internationally agreed standard that sets out the requirements for an environmental management system. It helps organizations improve their environmental performance through more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste, gaining a competitive advantage and the trust of stakeholders”

Notable revisions per the news release include:

  • A greater commitment from leadership
  • An increased alignment with strategic direction
  • Greater protection for the environment, with a focus on proactive initiatives
  • More effective communication, driven through a communications strategy
  • Life-cycle thinking, considering each stage of a product or service, from development to end-of-life

With the latest release, ISO discussed the benefits of incorporating the standard.  Described as a way of helping organizations identify, manage, monitor and control their environmental issues in a holistic manner, issues considered include:

  • Air pollution
  • Water & sewage issues
  • Waste management
  • Soil contamination
  • Climate change mitigation & adaption
  • Resource use & efficiency

So, who needs environmental management? The upside of 14001 is that it’s easily integrated into the existing ISO QMS, so any organization can benefit.  While Pro QC does not certify to ISO standards, we add value by getting our clients ready.  Our 14001 based audit gives clients assurance for certification, or a general assurance to stakeholders.  Many organizations not seeking certification continue to incorporate this standard simply to enjoy the associated benefits.

What are the benefits? According to ISO case studies, users of the standard indicate that it helps:

  • Demonstrate compliance with current and future statutory and regulatory requirements
  • Increase leadership involvement and engagement of employees
  • Improve company reputation and the confidence of stakeholders through strategic communication
  • Achieve strategic business aims by incorporating environmental issues into business management
  • Provide a competitive and financial advantage through improved efficiencies and reduced costs
  • Encourage better environmental performance of suppliers by integrating them into the organization’s business systems

Pro QC’s ISO 14001 based audit goes through a detailed checklist developed with the use of the standard (4:Quality Management System). We incorporate the following to provide clients with assurance in their suppliers’ environmental management.

  • Factory (supplier) profile
    • Markets, key clients/personnel, QMS, equipment, etc.
  • Environmental policy
  • Planning – environmental aspects
  • Legal and other requirements
  • Objectives, targets and programs
  • Resources, roles, responsibility and authority
  • Competence, training and awareness
  • Communication
  • Documentation
  • Control of documents
  • Operational control
  • Emergency preparedness and response
  • Monitoring and measuring
  • Evaluation of compliance
  • Nonconformity, corrective action and preventive action
  • Control of records
  • Internal audit
  • Management review

An audit result indicates scores represented as a percentage of the following:

  • Complies with the requirements
  • Improvement needed
  • Non-conformances found

Our reports provide the detailed information clients need to make imperative sourcing decisions. Whether it’s an evaluation to determine supplier selection, part of a supplier management initiative, or for internal evaluation purposes, the benefits of incorporating an EMS are relevant to organizations across all industries.

Contact us to schedule an ISO 14001: 2015 audit, or ask us questions. Download an example report here.

Earth Day 2015: Celebrating Sustainable & Socially Responsible Suppliers

Each year on April 22ndearth-day-e1429542414966-270x300, the world celebrates Earth Day.

“Events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.” 

At Pro QC, we like Earth Day because it’s an opportunity to express our commitment to helping ensure sustainability and social responsibility within the supply chain.  Aside from reducing quality risks and cost, ensuring social responsibility improves quality of life and ultimately affects the quality of products being produced as well. 80% of CEOs recently surveyed agree that ensuring social responsibility contributes to long-term success.  Environmental leadership is considered compatible with good returns.

Standards including SA 8000, ISO 26000 and ISO 14000 are generally incorporated into SR audits. A social responsibility audit can be included in a general systems audit for an added level of assurance.

Social Responsibility – These evaluations focus on health and safety, discrimination, disciplinary practices, working hours, compensation, management practices, forced labor, freedom of association and child labor laws.

Sustainability – These evaluations combine elements of key standards along with additional elements covering energy usage, renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions, materials and waste reduction, life cycle management, supplier’s supply chain activities and more.

Benefits of ensuring social responsibility include:

Human Resources – Recruitment & Retention Benefits
Higher employee morale leads to greater rates of retention, which cuts the costs of recruiting and training new staff. In addition, a growing trend in recruitment appears to be concern regarding a company’s corporate social responsibility activities.

Increased Product Quality & Safety
Reducing defects and accidents enhances product quality. A less fatigued and adult workforce is less likely to cause accidents or defects on the production line. In addition, a supplier that shows little concern over health and safety is more likely to produce poor quality products.

Risk Management
Proactive corporate responsibility offsets the risks of scandals or accidents that can create unwanted attention from consumers, regulators, government or the media.

Brand Development
Investing in a socially accountable supply chain benefits a company’s brand by differentiating from competition and building a positive reputation in the minds of consumers.

Stronger Management
Providing training, defining responsibility and developing manuals will strengthen the management of the company.

Government Intervention
If businesses take voluntary steps to ensure social accountability, they are more likely to avoid mandated government regulation and taxation.

In a late-2010 survey from sustainable consulting group BSR, when asked which areas sustainable companies show the most leadership and which areas will drive ongoing business success, both questions yielded the same top answers: creating innovative products and business models designed for sustainability (40 percent leadership, 66 percent business success); measuring and demonstrating positive social and environmental impacts (39 percent for both); and responding promptly and effectively to accidents, product quality issues and other incidents (35 percent leadership, 39 percent business success).

Source: Bottom-Line Benefits of Sustainability 

We have written several articles that provide more info:

Investing in Sustainability & Social Responsibility

Why Social Responsibility in Factories Matters

Sustainability Audits: An Evolving Process

Social Accountability Audits: Benefits & Features

Ask us for sample reports!

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time is now.” ~Chinese Proverb

How will you celebrate Earth Day?

Investing in Sustainability & Social Responsibility

A recent TED Talk that caught our attention includes Chris McKnett making a solid case for investing in sustainability.  In fact, several TED related talks focus on this topic and do an exceptional job demonstrating the benefits of this long-term strategy.

In McKnett’s talk, he highlights three additional components to sustainable investing that add to the commonly accepted and used financial indicators. He prefaces the discussion effectively disputing many of the common objections we hear.  He argues sustainability and sustainable investing is “less complicated than you think, has better performance than you can believe and is more important than we can imagine.”


  • Environmental – Energy consumption, water availability, waste, etc.
  • Social – Human capital, labor and human rights, etc.
  • Governmental – Oversight of companies by investors (corporate governance)

As we often do when discussing sustainability and social responsibility audits, we focus on the benefits that are difficult to dispute:

  • Financial outperformance (no tradeoffs) – “Environmental leadership is compatible with good returns”
  • Improves and supports innovation.
  • Supports a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
  • Improves quality and supports continuous improvement.
  • Contributes to long-term, future success. 80% of Global CEOs surveyed agree.

We have written several articles related to sustainability and social responsibility auditing as a third-party provider.  Two of the most applicable articles include the following:

Sustainability Audits: An Evolving Process

Social Accountability Audits: Benefits & Features 

Pro QC’s related supplier audits incorporate the following:

Social Responsibility – These evaluations focus on health and safety, discrimination, disciplinary practices, working hours, compensation, management practices, forced labor, freedom of association and child labor laws.

Sustainability – Although we have offered ISO14000 (environmental) and SA8000 (social responsibility) audits for a number of years, many organizations are now requiring audits that combine elements of both of these standards along with additional elements covering energy usage, renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions, materials and waste reduction, life cycle management, supplier’s supply chain activities and more.

The CSR Minute by 3BL Media is also a useful resource to quickly stay up-to-date regarding global organizations and their efforts towards sustainability and social responsibility.

Contact us to review and/or discuss example sustainability/environmental (ISO 14000) and social responsibility (ISO 26000 & SA8000) audits.  

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