A growing number of companies are wanting to demonstrate a strong CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) profile and to be seen doing the right thing. The Seventh Generation Principle is based on an ancient Iroquois philosophy that teaches us to consider future generations when making decisions and taking actions today – i.e. how will our lifestyles today impact on the world seven generations from now. ISO 14001 is the international standard for environmental management and it’s introduction begins: “Achieving a balance between the environment, society and the economy is considered essential to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

If a company does not have an ISO 14001 certificate, does that mean they don’t care about the environment? Of course not! But what the Standard does provide is three benefits to an organisation:

  1. a systematic way of managing its environmental ‘aspects’ and ‘impacts’
  2. a means of publicly demonstrating commitment to the environment
  3. a potential differentiator to other competitors

And so, what are environmental ‘aspects and impacts’? In a nutshell, they are the things we do (in our work) and the effect they have on the environment. Let’s look at some examples:

  • The carbon emissions that come from transport (e.g. cars, boats, trains, ships and planes)
  • The carbon and methane emissions from animal agriculture (e.g. meat and dairy)
  • The noise and dust created by industry (e.g. construction, demolition)
  • The natural resources we use (e.g. paper, energy, water)
  • The waste we dispose of (e.g. plastics, chemicals)

It would be hard to think of a company (or household) that would not have some level of negative impact on the environment. Therefore, reducing our individual and corporate impacts benefits everyone as we are all “interested parties” a term used by ISO 14001 and other ISO management system standards. Environmental legislation is a minefield and the Environmental Agency will fine companies if seen to be breaching environmental laws. Business leaders have a choice here: 1) take a chance, 2) learn more about environmental legislation (e.g. self-study, attend courses) or 3) hire a consultant to share knowledge and conduct audits. ISO 14001 provides a systematic way of identifying and fulfilling these requirements.

If you think it’s time to increase your level of corporate social responsibility, take a look at our ISO 14001 courses:

ISO 14001 Foundation Course

1 day



ISO 14001 Internal Auditor Course

2 days



ISO 14001 Lead Auditor Conversion

3 days



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