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noevir_irvineISO is the Internation Organization for Standardization, a worldwide organization with representatives from 157 countries. Collectively, this group

ISO standards that provide requirements or give guidance on good management practice are among the best known of ISO's offering. Of these, two have achieved truly global status and are now thoroughly integrated with the world economy:

ISO 9000 and ISO 14000

The ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 families are among ISO's best known standards ever. ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001 (1996 and 2004 versions) are implemented by some 887,770 organizations in 161 countries.

The ISO 9000 family addresses "quality management". This means what the organization does to fulfill:

  • the customer's quality requirements, and
  • applicable regulatory requirements, while aiming to
  • enhance customer satisfaction, and
  • achieve continual improvement of its performance in pursuit of these objectives.

The ISO 14000 family addresses "environmental management". This means what the organization does to:

  • minimize harmful effects on the environment caused by its activities, and to
  • achieve continual improvement of its environmental performance.

ISO 9001:2000

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ISO 9001:2000, which gives the requirements for quality management systems, is now firmly established as the globally implemented standard for providing assurance about the ability to satisfy quality requirements and to enhance customer satisfaction in supplier-customer relationships.

The ISO 9000 family of standards represents an international consensus on good quality management practices. It consists of standards and guidelines relating to quality management systems and related supporting standards.

ISO 9001:2000 is the standard that provides a set of standardized requirements for a quality management system, regardless of what the user organization does, its size, or whether it is in the private, or public sector. It is the only standard in the family against which organizations can be certified – although certification is not a compulsory requirement of the standard.
The other standards in the family cover specific aspects such as fundamentals and vocabulary, performance improvements, documentation, training, and financial and economic aspects.

Why an organization should implement ISO 9001:2000

Without satisfied customers, an organization is in peril! To keep customers satisfied, the organization needs to meet their requirements. The ISO 9001:2000 standard provides a tried and tested framework for taking a systematic approach to managing the organization's processes so that they consistently turn out product that satisfies customers' expectations.

How the ISO 9001:2000 model works

The requirements for a quality system have been standardized - but many organizations like to think of themselves as unique. So how does ISO 9001:2000 allow for the diversity of say, on the one hand, a "Mr. and Mrs." enterprise, and on the other, to a multinational manufacturing company with service components, or a public utility, or a government administration?
The answer is that ISO 9001:2000 lays down what requirements your quality system must meet, but does not dictate how they should be met in any particular organization. This leaves great scope and flexibility for implementation in different business sectors and business cultures, as well as in different national cultures.

Checking that it works

  1. The standard requires the organization itself to audit its ISO 9001:2000-based quality system to verify that it is managing its processes effectively - or, to put it another way, to check that it is fully in control of its activities.
  2. In addition, the organization may invite its clients to audit the quality system in order to give them confidence that the organization is capable of delivering products or services that will meet their requirements.
  3. Lastly, the organization may engage the services of an independent quality system certification body to obtain an ISO 9001:2000 certificate of conformity. This last option has proved extremely popular in the market-place because of the perceived credibility of an independent assessment.

The organization may thus avoid multiple audits by its clients, or reduce the frequency or duration of client audits.The certificate can also serve as a business reference between the organization and potential clients, especially when supplier and client are new to each other, or far removed geographically, as in an export context.

 

ISO 14001:2004

ISO 14001:2004, which gives the requirements for environmental management systems, confirms its global relevance for organizations wishing to operate in an environmentally sustainable manner.

ISO 14000 essentials

The ISO 14000 family addresses various aspects of environmental management. The very first two standards, ISO 14001:2004 andISO 14004:2004 deal with environmental management systems (EMS). ISO 14001:2004 provides the requirements for an EMS and ISO 14004:2004 gives general EMS guidelines.
The other standards and guidelines in the family address specific environmental aspects, including: labeling, performance evaluation, life cycle analysis, communication and auditing.

An ISO 14001:2004-based EMS

An EMS meeting the requirements of ISO 14001:2004 is a management tool enabling an organization of any size or type to:

  • identify and control the environmental impact of its activities, products or services, and to
  • improve its environmental performance continually, and to
  • implement a systematic approach to setting environmental objectives and targets, to achieving these and to demonstrating that they have been achieved.

How it works

ISO 14001:2004 does not specify levels of environmental performance. If it specified levels of environmental performance, they would have to be specific to each business activity and this would require a specific EMS standard for each business. That is not the intention.
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.
This has the effect of establishing a common reference for communicating about environmental management issues between organizations and their customers, regulators, the public and other stakeholders.
Because ISO 14001:2004 does not lay down levels of environmental performance, the standard can to be implemented by a wide variety of organizations, whatever their current level of environmental maturity. However, a commitment to compliance with applicable environmental legislation and regulations is required, along with a commitment to continual improvement – for which the EMS provides the framework.

The EMS standards

ISO 14004:2004 provides guidelines on the elements of an environmental management system and its implementation, and discusses principal issues involved.
ISO 14001:2004 specifies the requirements for such an environmental management system. Fulfilling these requirements demands objective evidence which can be audited to demonstrate that the environmental management system is operating effectively in conformity to the standard.

What can be achieved

ISO 14001:2004 is a tool that can be used to meet internal objectives:

  • provide assurance to management that it is in control of the organizational processes and activities having an impact on the environment
  • assure employees that they are working for an environmentally responsible organization.

ISO 14001:2004 can also be used to meet external objectives:

  • provide assurance on environmental issues to external stakeholders – such as customers, the community and regulatory agencies
  • comply with environmental regulations
  • support the organization's claims and communication about its own environmental policies, plans and actions
  • provides a framework for demonstrating conformity via suppliers' declarations of conformity, assessment of conformity by an external stakeholder - such as a business client - and for certification of conformity by an independent certification body.