ISO Standards for EHS and ESG
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a global non-governmental organization with a membership of 165 national standards bodies. ISO’s mandate is to gather experts to develop International Standards designed to ensure quality. Some of the best known ISO standards relating to Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) and Environment and Social Governance (ESG) management programs are:
- ISO 9001 is a Quality Management System (QMS) standard used by organizations to demonstrate their ability to consistently provide services that meet customer and regulatory requirements and also demonstrate continuous improvement mechanisms.
- ISO 14001 specifies the framework for an Environmental Management Systems (EMS) that minimizes environmental impact while meeting regulatory requirements.
- ISO 14005 provides small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) with a phased approach to implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS).
- ISO 45001 specifies the framework for an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) standard to help organizations improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create safer working conditions.
- ISO 50001 is an Energy Management standard for helping organizations reduce their environmental impact, conserve resources and improve the bottom line through efficient energy management.
Why are ISO Standards Important?
Adopting an ISO standards-based EHS or ESG management program ensures that management policies and procedures will meet internationally recognized standards for quality, safety, transparency, accountability and continuous improvement.
The Five Key Elements of ISO Management Systems
- Document an Environmental Policies and Procedures document.
- Plan the integration of policies and procedures into business operations.
- Implement the policies and procedures within operational processes.
- Check the effectiveness of the policies and identify opportunities for improvement.
- Review system performance with all levels of management to promote adoption, engagement and continuous improvement.
The Principle of Continuous Improvement
Continual Improvement is a fundamental pillar of ISO Management Systems. This aspect of ISO management requires transparent communication, clear objectives, an effective training and information management strategy, and an inclusive commitment at all levels of the organization to the objectives of the management system. The continuous improvement objective is most commonly implemented by adopting the plan, do, act, check management strategy to achieve a better balance between the behavioural and systems aspects of your EMS.
Is Your EHS or ESG Management Software ISO Compliant?
People ask this question regularly: is my EHS or ESG information management software or platform compliant with applicable ISO management standards?
The simple answer is that it is your organization that is deemed to be ISO compliance, not your information management systems.
ISO compliance refers to the people, processes, procedures and information management systems that are put in place to collectively meet the objectives of an ISO standard. EHS or ESG information management software is simply one component of your management program.