ISO 14001

Case studies, Research and Supporting Materials tagged as ISO 14001.

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Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), the government authority charged with regulating, coordinating and supervising all aspects of Dubai’s maritime sector, has achieved certification against four leading management system standards.

DMCA has been certified to the ISO Quality Management System ISO 9001, the ISO Environmental Management System ISO 14001, the Health and Safety Management System OHSAS18001 and the ISO Information Security Management System ISO 27001.

DMCA believes that the use of standards and certification against these standards helps support their world-class aims. Building on the four certifications in 2015, in 2016 DMCA will work on the ISO Customer Satisfaction Standard, SA 800 Social Accountability Standard and ISO 22301 Business Continuity MAnagement System standard. DMCA will also update its Quality Management System to the latest 2015 version.

Further details can be seen here

The Abu Dhabi Police have seen the benefits of certification is a range of directorates.

In 2013, the Western Region Directorate extended its commitment to ISO 9001 by renewing its certification. Colonel Ojail Ali Abdullah, Director of the Western Region Police Directorate said, “Obtaining this certificate is not merely an objective; it is an incentive to maintain our efforts and continue to achieve quality across all functional tasks in order to enhance excellence.”

Additionally, the Directorate-General of Human Resources, the Police Schools Department and the Human Resources Planning Department, have obtained ISO 14001 certification for Environment Management System Standards and the OHSAS 18001 for Occupational Health and Safety System Standards

Details of the Western Region Directorate’s certification are here, with details of thje ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification here.

The ISO website ‘Using and referencing ISO and IEC standards to support public policy‘ references a wide range of instances where different standards are used to deliver environmental policy.

Leading standards include ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard and ISO 50001 Energy Management System standard, as well as standards used to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere (ISO 14064 series & ISO 14065).

These standards have been used in a variety of mandatory and voluntary schemes from carbon trading to sustainable development policy.

Further information from the ISO website

The Hong Kong Housing Authority builds an average of 20000 flats per year for the public sector of Hong Kong. The quality of building materials and components is always of prime concern to the Housing Authority and the industry since rework of any non-complying building products would have time & cost implications to the housing projects. Housing Authority fully recognizes that product certification is an upstream quality control process and it offers higher quality assurance through regular rigorous audits by a competent third party certification body.

Since 2010, the Housing Authority has specified the requirement of using certified products for ten major building materials in its construction projects. This initiative expedites the development of product certification for construction materials. Other than those building materials specified by Housing Authority, more construction product certification schemes had also been developed or are being developed (e.g. steel reinforcement, paints, mechanical couplers, aggregate products, etc) per the requirement of various stakeholders.  Product certification provides a reliable means for assuring production quality throughout the whole production process from incoming raw materials, production, inspection, sample selection and testing, traceability, etc thus making available certified construction products of quality for use in building projects.

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As well as specifying the use of certified products for building materials in its construction projects, the Hong Kong Housing Authority makes extensive use of management systems standards to deliver better performance in a number of areas. For example, the Authority’s Mid-Year Performance Review of the 2013/14 Corporate Plan  states that certification to ISO 50001 Energy Management system standard has been achieved at its Kwai Shing West Estate.

The above Review additionally states in section 3.11, ‘To further enhance the quality of estate management and to develop a comfortable and healthy living environment for our PRH tenants, we (the Hong Kong Housing Authority) had implemented the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Certification programme in planned maintenance and improvement works for all estates as well as in property management since 2010. We had successfully obtained the ISO 14001 certification for property management for all estates in July 2013.’

In Norway, the Ministry of Health & Care Services has introduced a range of measures to strengthen the public health system. One of these requirements is for the establishment of environmental management systems and subsequent certification of the management system according to ISO 14001 standard by the end of 2014 for all hospitals. (Norway)

The Swedish Minister of Trade highlighted how standards and certification can be used in tackling even the most complex issues. As part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Minister spoke of how specific standards can deal with definable issues such as measuring greenhouse gas emissions (ISO 14064 and ISO 14065), through to generic standards such as ISO 14001 helping to embed the right culture in organisations to help tackle key issues. (Sweden)

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In south Wales, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council have used certification to both ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 to prove its commitment to a responsible approach to the environment and quality, with certification to both delivering these and matching the expectations of its local residents who expect a proactive, transparent approach to council management. (UK)

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Accredited certification has been embraced by a variety of public sector organisation in Mauritius. Twenty Departments within many ministries in Mauritius have accredited certification to ISO 9001 granted by the Mauritius Standards Bureau, including the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, the Mauritius Meteorological Services and the Mauritius Revenue Authority.  Three secondary schools have accredited certification to ISO 9001 as well as the Willougby Primary Government School. The National Blood Transfusion Service of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life in Mauritius also has accredited Certification to ISO 9001 granted by the Mauritius Standards Bureau and the Passport and Immigration Office has accredited certification to ISO/IEC 27001. The Forensic Science Laboratory of Mauritius is itself accredited to ISO/IEC 17025. (Mauritius)


The Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) has been certified to quality management system standard ISO 9001. The Director General of the NMA Olav Akselsen has a clear view of certification’s role in improvement, “Certification alone, however, does not mean the job is done. We will work continuously to evaluate and refine our internal processes according to the standard, focusing on service and quality that will benefit our end users.”

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Various governmental entities in Abu Dhabi are also accredited to improve their performance, including the Food Control Department, Municipality Clinical Laboratory, Municipality Animal Laboratory. The Digital Forensic Laboratory of Abu Dhabi Police is certified to ISO/IEC 17025 – General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. (Abu Dubai)


In order to have a better quality operation of key activities and more efficient management of its processes, the Serbian Directorate of Measures and Precious Metals (DMDM), the Serbian National Metrology Institute, has accredited certification for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and OHSAS 18001. Moreover, they are ISO/IEC 17025 accredited (one testing laboratory and one calibration laboratory). (Serbia)


Ireland’s National Car Testing Service has achieved accreditation to ISO/IEC 17020 Conformity assessment – Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection to ensure that it improves car safety and deliver its services with impartiality and consistency. (Ireland)

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In Eritrea, the National Blood Bank is certified to ISO 9001. Set up in 1999 as a center, the NBTS is a blood supply centre through out the country. Working in accordance with the internationally accepted management systems enables the NBTS run its activities effectively to the level of utmost excellence. Eritrea has now met the international standards of blood management system and gained international recognition to be certified by South African Accreditation body known as South African Bureau of Standards, SABS. (Eriteria)

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In Norway, the Ministry of Health & Care Services has introduced a range of measures to strengthen the public health system. One of these requirements is for the establishment of environmental management systems and subsequent certification of the management system according to ISO 14001 standard by the end of 2014 for all hospitals. (Norway)

This article investigates the impact of ISO 14001 certification on the compliance with environmental regulations by Korean companies. The impact of ISO 14001 certification on the industry was studied through a questionnaire survey and the compliance of environmental regulations were investigated using government-released data. The motivation for an environment management system was a result of the current international situation and the need to maintain fair competition. ISO 14001 certification has been recognized as an essential strategy for industrial competition and to improve company/product recognition.

The certified and non-certified companies’ environmental regulation violation (ERV) rates were 3·5% and 11·6%, respectively, in 1997. In 1998, the ERV rate had an eight-time difference with 1·0% and 8·5% for certified and non-certified companies, respectively. Annual regulation violation rates were reduced from 3·5% in 1997 to 1·0% in 1998 with certified companies and from 11·6% in 1997 to 8·5% in 1998 with their non-certified counterparts, respectively. ISO 14001 certified companies showed more improvment than non-certified companies in regards to environmental performance.



Dong-Myung KwonMin-Seok SeoYong-Chil Seo – Korean Standards Association Consulting, Department of Environmental Engineering YIEST, Yonsei University, Maegi-ri Heungup-myun Wonju-si, Kangwon-do, South Korea

A study of compliance with environmental regulations of ISO 14001 certified companies in Korea‘, Dong-Myung Kwon, Min-Seok Seo, Yong-Chil Seo, Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 65, Issue 4, August 2002, Pages 347–353

There has been an increase in interest towards corporate activities aimed at reducing or eliminating the waste created during the production, use and/or disposal of the firm’s products. Prior research has focused on the need for such activities, while current research tries to identify those components that encourage or discourage such activities. As a result of the introduction of ISO 14001, attention has turned to corporate environmental management systems (EMS). The underlying assumption is that such a system is critical to a firm’s ability to reduce waste and pollution while simultaneously improving overall performance. This study evaluates this assumption. Drawing on data provided by a survey of North American managers, their attitudes toward EMS and ISO 14001, this study assesses the relative effects of having a formal but uncertified EMS compared to having a formal, certified system.

The results strongly demonstrate that firms in possession of a formal EMS perceive impacts well beyond pollution abatement and see a critical positive impact on many dimensions of operations performance. The results also show that firms having gone through EMS certification experience a greater impact on performance than do firms that have not certified their EMS. Additionally, experience with these systems over time has a greater impact on the selection and use of environmental options. These results demonstrate the need for further investigation into EMS, the environmental options a firm chooses, and the direct and indirect relationships between these systems and performance.



Steven A MelnykaRobert P SroufebRoger Calantonea– a Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management, Michigan State University, USA; b Department of Operations and Strategic Management, Wallace E. Carroll School of Management, Boston College, USA



Melnyk, S.A., Sroufe, R.P., Calantone, R., (2003), ‘Assessing the Impact of Environmental Management Systems on Corporate and Environmental Performance’, Journal of Operations Management, Vol. 21, Issue 3, 329-351

Voluntary environmental programs are codes of progressive environmental conduct that firms pledge to adopt. This paper investigates whether ISO 14001, a voluntary program with a weak sword—a weak monitoring and sanctioning mechanism—can mitigate shirking and improve participants’ environmental performance. Sponsored by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ISO 14001 is the most widely adopted voluntary environmental program in the world. The analysis of over 3,000 facilities regulated as major sources under the U.S. Clean Air Act suggests that ISO 14001-certified facilities reduce their pollution emissions more than non-certified facilities. This result persists even after controlling for facilities’ emission and regulatory compliance histories as well as addressing potential endogeneity issues between facilities’ environmental performance and their decisions to join ISO 14001.



Matthew Potoski, Iowa State University; Aseem Prakash, (Potoski), University of Washington (2005), ‘Covenants with weak swords: ISO 14001 and facilities’ environmental performance’, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 745- 769.



Covenants with weak swords: ISO 14001 and facilities’ environmental performance‘, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 24, Issue 4, pages 745–769, Autumn (Fall) 2005

As a result of increasing global awareness about the importance of the environment, depletion of natural resources and legal pressures for companies to manage their processes in a sustainable manner, ISO 14001 systems have been gaining increasingly more importance in the organizational scenario. These elements are even more critical in emerging nations due to less awareness and fewer demands by governments and the population in relation to environmental issues. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to verify the benefits and difficulties of Environmental Management Systems based on ISO 14001 at industries in the state of São Paulo – Brazil (an emerging country) by conducting a survey to subsidize the proposal for actions in the public, academic and private sectors to promote the use of this standard of reference and strengthen its results in Brazil.

A questionnaire was sent to 194 companies from the National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality database. 69 answered, representing a return rate of 35.36%. The main benefits identified are related to the development of preventive environmental actions, reduction in the consumption of power, water, gas and fuel oil, and a positive influence on other internal management processes. The main difficulties are related to cost increases from ISO 14001 management systems and the constant changes in environmental legislation in Brazil. Some actions are proposed at the end of the analyses to intensify the use and improve the results of this standard, such as changes in government legislation and its collective development and implementation in industries.

Otávio José de OliveiraJosé Roberto SerraManoel Henrique Salgado, UNESP – São Paulo State University, São Paulo 17033-360, Brazil



Does ISO 14001 work in Brazil?‘, Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 18, Issue 18, December 2010, Pages 1797–1806

The research published in ‘Green clubs and voluntary governance: ISO 14001 and firms’ regulatory compliance’ (Potoski, M., Prakash, A., 2005), looks at the role of certification as a type of voluntary program, increasingly used as policy tools. Referred to as a ‘club’, these clubs ‘promulgate standards of conduct targeted to produce public benefits by changing members’ behaviors’. In particular, the research sought to understand if certification to ISO 14001 reduces time spent complying with government regulation, in this case the Clean Air Act in the US. To do this, an empirical analysis of 3700 US facilities compared the regulatory records of certified and non-certified facilities.

The conclusion of the research ‘indicates that joining ISO 14001, an important nongovernmental voluntary program, improves facilities’ compliance with government regulations. We conjecture that ISO 14001 is effective because its broad positive standing with external audiences provides a reputational benefit that helps induce facilities to take costly progressive environmental action they would not take unilaterally’.

The report goes on to say , ‘The results imply that as a group ISO 14001 certified facilities have better compliance records than if they had not joined the program’. At the heart of this is the behaviour that membership of the ‘club’, in this case being certified, promotes. For example the report states, ‘We conjecture that ISO 14001’s mandated third-party auditing mitigates wilful noncompliance by compelling members to measure up to club standards while ISO 14001’s EMS standards address noncompliance stemming from ignorance by directing members’ attention to root causes of regulatory noncompliance’.


Matthew Potoski, Iowa State University; Aseem Prakash, University of Washington


Potoski, M., Prakash, A. (2005), ‘Green clubs and voluntary governance: ISO 14001 and firms’ regulatory compliance’, American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 49; Issue 2;  pp 235-248.

This paper aims to look mainly into perceived benefits derived from ISO 14001 registrations for firms with in a newly industrialized country like Malaysia. The results of a survey on Malaysian firms registered with ISO 14001 indicate that there were benefits to be gained from implementing ISO 14000 Standards. Generally, the benefits were rather similar to those documented for companies that adopted ISO 14000 in industrialized countries. ISO 14000 implementation was crucial in bringing about effective environmental management, and reduction of damage to the environment, as well as improvement of the company’s image and operations.


Lee Peng Tan, Faculty of Business and Accountancy, University of Malaya


Implementing ISO 14001: is it beneficial for firms in newly industrialized Malaysia?‘, Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 13, Issue 4, March 2005, Pages 397–404


The purpose of this paper is to study the impact of ISO 14001 and other significant factors on solid waste generation rates of organizations. The research is based on a survey conducted on a random sample of industrial companies that operate in United States. The paper reveals that companies’ solid waste generation rates are significantly reduced by certification and identifies several factors of ISO 14001 that are most significant in terms of solid waste reduction. The paper also reveals that solid waste disposal costs are also significant and influence the solid waste generation of industrial companies.


Matthew Franchetti, The University of Toledo, College of Engineering, Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering Department, USA

Franchetti, M, (2011) ‘ISO 14001 and solid waste generation rates in US manufacturing organizations: an analysis of relationship’, Journal of Cleaner Production 19, (2011) pp 1104-1109.

This paper focuses on the role of ISO 14001 in environmental supply management practices in Swedish companies. It discusses the existing and potential role of ISO 14001 for three key operational tasks of environmental supply chain management: to communicate the requirements to the supplier, to motivate and enable the supplier, and to verify that the supplier follows the requirements. The study used three different research methods: interviews with environmental managers, focus group discussions and a survey of two multinational companies and their operating units in several countries.

It concludes that cooperation between the purchasing and environmental functions within a company is frequently not sufficiently achieved in implementation of ISO 14001; this makes the communication of customer requirements to suppliers less efficient. Building close relationships with suppliers is important to overcome initial difficulties, but this often conflicts with having a large supplier base. For the supplier to have an ISO 14001 certificate is seldom an absolute requirement, however, preference is often given to such suppliers. The value of the ISO 14001 certificate, as a proof of environmental performance, is a combination of the supplier’s environmental ambitions, the advancement of supply chain practices of the customer and the ambitions of the certification bodies. Supplier audits are not commonly used as they are resource-consuming. Monitoring and verification approaches need further development.

Dagmara NawrockaTorbjörn BrorsonThomas Lindhqvist – International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University, Lund, Sweden



ISO 14001 in environmental supply chain practices‘, Dagmara Nawrocka, Torbjörn Brorson, Thomas Lindhqvist, Journal of Cleaner ProductionVolume 17, Issue 16, November 2009, Pages 1435–1443

Resolving information Asymmetries in Markets: The Role of Certified Management Programs (Toffel, 2006) examines if ‘a voluntary management program’ (in this study’s case ISO 14001) that features an independent verification mechanism (certification) is achieving its ultimate aims’.

The research involves data from thousands of companies in the USA to evaluate their environmental performance. The research reports, ‘evidence that the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Standard has attracted companies with superior environmental performance’.

Two key elements of the conclusion state that ‘third party certification may be a critical element to ensure that voluntary management programs legitimately distinguish adopters from non-adopters’. This is greatly assisted by the view that,  ‘As an alternative to more prescriptive industry-specific management practices, voluntary management programs can also ensure performance improvement among its participants by requiring such improvements as a condition for ongoing participation’.

The second key element of the conclusion is a clear message for the concept of certification as a means of delivering public policy objectives, namely that, ‘regulators should seriously consider using ISO 14001 adoption as an indicator of superior (environmental) performance’.


Toffel, M.W., Harvard Business School, Harvard University



Resolving Information Asymmetries in Markets: The Role of Certified Management Programs’, Toffel, M.W., (2006)



The idea of tools such as certification as a means of managing key issues, often addressed by policy-makers with regulation and legislation, is examined in  ‘Self-regulatory Institutions for Solving Environmental Problems: Perspectives and Contributions from the Management Literature‘  (King, Toffel, 2007) In particular, the use of ISO 14001 certification as a ‘self-regulatory institution’ is examined.

The report suggests that the creation of a robust ‘self-regulatory institution’, such as consensus-based standards (such as ISO), certified by third-party certification who themselves are accredited by accreditation bodies, can deliver significant environmental benefits. The report’s conclusion presents a very optimistic view of systems such as ISO 14001, ‘For readers interested in practical solutions to environmental problems, the research presented in this chapter suggests that self-regulation should be taken seriously.

Many firms have voted with their feet and joined prominent examples of self-regulatory institutions. Managers in these firms appear to believe that participating in these institutions will help them solve real problems. Initial empirical research suggests that some of these institutions might, indeed, help firms reduce market inefficiencies. Some appear to reduce asymmetries in information, others to facilitate coordinated investment in solutions to common problems. In the aggregate, the research reviewed reveals a world not of inevitable tragedy but of possibility’. Backed up by a range of empirical research, the report presents a compelling case for considering systems such as ISO 14001 certification as a tool to make a real impact on environmental performance.


King, A., Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College; Toffel, M.,  Harvard Business School



King, A., Toffel, M., (2007), ‘Self-regulatory Institutions for Solving Environmental Problems: Perspectives and Contributions from the Management Literature