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One of today's business trends is achieving ISO "certification" or establishing an ISO-certified business. While adherence or compliance is generally not a condition of doing business, ISO standards are quickly becoming a "benchmark" perceived to indicate a certain level of business competency. Meeting the standards makes it easier to do business with governmental agencies and companies in the United States as well as worldwide.

Managers must direct their business in conformance with applicable ISO standards to achieve "certification." An independent observer must audit a business's management program for conformance with the applicable ISO standards for the company to become certified.

The ISO 14000 series of standards deals with ISO 14000 certification that benchmarks environmental management systems. An EMS is a corporate management system that ensures that all activities of that firm have minimal environmental impact. The ISO 14000 standards require that the EMS assess potential impact, minimize (or eliminate) the impact, evaluate results, and then refine and improve the process through a regular process of re-evaluation. The ISO 14000 standards provide a model to follow in creating and operating the EMS. Beyond environmental compliance, the development and implementation of an EMS can yield other important benefits, including:

  • Ability to provide goods or services.
  • A strong commitment to the environment and considerable public relations value.
  • An evaluation of your operation and your compliance level.
  • Better relationships with regulatory agencies, including favorable status, reduced inspections or enforcement action, or mitigation should enforcement action occur.
  • Cost savings through reductions in raw material acquisition or waste-disposal costs through recycling or materials substitutions.
  • Preferential treatment from financial institutions.

In short, developing and implementing an EMS, and seeking ISO 14000 certification, may be beneficial to all concrete producers.

Keywords: ISO 14000, certification, benchmark, environmental management system, EMS, compliance, audit, ISO 14001