ISO 14000 because it sees other benefits accruing beyond compliance with environmental regulations.
The fundamental principle of ISO 14000 is continual improvement. It does not matter where an organization starts; as long as it starts, its overall goal will be continual improvement. ISO 14000 helps an organization to build structural capacity toward a logical framework to address environmental compliance, improve performance, and achieve other established environmental objectives, such as preventing the creation of pollution.
ISO 14000 is complementary to national environmental regulations. It borrows the quality management standard from ISO 9000, which served as a model for the ISO 14000 internal structure. The old philosophy in quality management, for example, was to focus on defects, to stress the reduction of errors in employees' work, and to make a better product. The emphasis was constantly on the quality of the product. It became evident that this approach brings only marginal improvements. A culture of quality must be created and embedded in an organization's processes and people to produce a quality product.
The philosophy of enriching and improving the structure of the system came from the quality movement, and now has been applied to the environmental area with ISO 14000.
ISO 14000 encompasses 16 standards, in addition to that on environmental management. Six standards address organizational issues and ten address products. They include environmental auditing, performance evaluation, environmental labeling, development, and site assessment. The ISO 14031 document, for example, addresses performance evaluation. It does not contain specific performance indicators, but it establishes a framework for determining the attributes needed in choosing performance indicators and establishing a subsystem for performance evaluation.
ISO 14001 is the specification document. An organization must implement the elements of this specification to be registered to the standard.
In reading the section in the ISO 14001 standard that pertains to compliance, one might think it is deficient because it says very little about compliance, but, it is not deficient. The standard requires an organization to have a policy that explicitly states that a commitment has been made to compliance, to continual improvement, and to prevention of pollution. To be registered to the ISO 14001 standard, an organization must have a procedure