Although Lockheed Martin Electronics has not received any regulatory relief as a quid pro quo for ISO 14001 registration, it anticipates realizing reduced regulatory exposure through the reduction or elimination of regulated activities as a result of setting and realizing objectives and targets under ISO 14001.
Among the lessons learned from this experience is the importance of looking at the big picture. One of the benefits of ISO 14001 is that it tells an organization to survey all of its environmental aspects, to look at what is being emitted, but also at the resources being used: Is the organization using too much water, too much energy, too many materials, or too much of certain kinds of materials? It also asks that the organization pay attention not just to the environmental aspects of its manufacturing operations, but also to the environmental aspects of all services and other operations.
Another lesson learned is that ISO 14001 is a comprehensive toolbox. But, like a toolbox, it is not useful unless the organization has the appropriate tools (programs) in it and uses them.
ISO 14001 requires good faith to effectuate change. This is one of the positive aspects of having surveillance audits every six months or so: They support the exercise of such good faith.
ISO 14001 is a catalyst. It creates sensitivity to the environmental ramifications of what people do. Engineers are looking at the environmental aspects of design and being more innovative because there is greater overall sensitivity to the environmental implications of what people do. Procurement groups are asking what they can do to improve chemical management through chemical acquisition.
The overall lesson learned is to give the system time. It is too soon to say whether ISO 14001 is a success or not. It will take a couple of years to see how things develop, but from the early, often anecdotal, evidence, it appears to say positive move.