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The standard is not an environmental management system as such and therefore does not dictate absolute environmental performance requirements (National Academy Press 1999), but serves instead as a framework to assist organizations in developing their own environmental management system (RMIT University). ISO 14001 can be integrated with other management functions and assists companies in meeting their environmental and economic goals.
ISO 14001, as with other ISO 14000 standards, is voluntary (IISD 2010), with its main aim to assist companies in continually improving their environmental performance, whilst complying with any applicable legislation. Organisations are responsible for setting their own targets and performance measures, with the standard serving to assist them in meeting objectives and goals and the subsequent monitoring and measurement of these (IISD 2010). This means that two organisations that have completely different measures and standards of environmental performance, can both comply with ISO 14001 requirements (Federal Facilities Council Report 1999).
The standard can be applied to a variety of levels in the business, from organisational level, right down to the product and service level (RMIT university). Rather than focusing on exact measures and goals of environmental performance, the standard highlights what an organisation needs to do to meet these goals (IISD 2010). Success of the system is very dependant on commitment from all levels of the organisation, especially top management (Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand 2004), who need to be actively involved in the development, implementation and maintenance of the environmental management system (iso14001.com.au 2010). In 2008 there were an estimated 188 000 companies from 155 countries, certified as ISO 14001 compliant (ISO14001.com.au 2010).
ISO 14001 is known as a generic management system standard, meaning that it is applicable to any size and type of organisation, product or service, in any sector of activity and can accommodate diverse socio-cultural and geographic conditions.
Excel Training International work in partnership with a reputable consultancy, to ensure that the process of attaining ISO 14001 certification is achieved in a very straight-forward and time efficient way.