ISO 14001 software conundrumImage credit: Viktor HertzISO 14001 is the most recognized standard of environmental responsibility and corporate sustainability.  So it’s no surprise that businesses around the world are constantly searching for the fastest and easiest way to get ISO 14001 certified. And that’s not a bad thing: ISO 14001 certification is all about how effective your environmental management system is, not how long it took to develop or what sort processes you took to get there. ISO 14001 is all about the end result: ensuring your business does the right thing for the planet. So, where's the conundrum?

    One of the biggest demands made by EH&S (environmental health & safety) leaders is for ISO 14001 software. Some standard application that you can plug in and get ISO 14001 certified.

    But here’s where it gets tricky. In reality, there is no such thing as official or ISO sanctioned software.

    An ISO 14001 checklist simply states that you need some sort of environmental policy and management program and a documentation system.

    Specifically, the ISO guidelines state:

    "ISO has many other standards dealing with specific environmental issues. The intention of ISO 14001:2004 is to provide a framework for a holistic, strategic approach to the organization's environmental policy, plans and actions.


    ISO 14001:2004 gives the generic requirements for an environmental management system. The underlying philosophy is that whatever the organization's activity, the requirements of an effective EMS are the same."

    These guidelines don’t specify which type of software should be used.

    In fact, it’s possible to be ISO 14001 certified without using any type of software at all (though that’s definitely not the most time or cost effective option out there).

    If you’re looking for ISO 14001 software, you’re really in the market for some sort of environmental management software. Something that monitors your environmental impact and helps you set goals and communicate.

    So what are you to do if you’re searching for an ISO 14001 software solution? Since there’s no one “right” answer, you’ll have to do a little research into which option is best for you.

    Here are some quick tips:

    • Read up on the ISO 14001 requirements and get a vision of how your business will change to get a system in place.
    • Find out which environmental software providers are the right fit for you.
    • Be cautious of any software that claims to be ISO 14001 software - Instead look for software solutions that have all the necessary functionality that will help you achieve ISO 14001 certification.

    With these tips in mind you should be able to stop searching for nonexistent “ISO 14001 software” and start looking for real environmental ma nagement software solutions.


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    Alex Chamberlain
    Post by Alex Chamberlain
    February 23, 2012
    Alex Chamberlain is a writer for ERA Environmental Management Solutions.