by Greg Lathan

Today, ISO certification is synonymous with quality. There are numerous benefits obtained through ISO certification, including technological, economic and social advantages. You can also improve the quality of your processes and products, better understand your business, enhance the consistency of your operations, reduce waste, save money and gain international recognition. Pursuit of ISO certification is becoming the norm among competitive business operations, especially those who target larger corporations to be an integral part of their supply chain. An ISO certified company differentiates themselves among competitors by demonstrating credibility through the implementation of business management systems in a number of certification areas. The majority of Fortune 1000 corporations, especially those with international operations, require ISO certification for their business partners. In addition to these ISO certification benefits, several specific ISO management systems compliment or align with corporate sustainability/ESG initiatives.

These include:

  • ISO 9001 Accounts for Quality Management
    This ISO sets out the criteria regardless of size or industry on how to put a Quality Management System (QMS) in place to better prepare your organization to produce quality products and services. With a strong focus on customers, the principles within this ISO place an emphasis on continuous improvement and top management processes.
  • ISO 14000-Environmental Management
  • The international standard that sets out the requirements for an environmental management system. It helps organizations improve their environmental performance through more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste, gaining a competitive advantage and the trust of stakeholders.
  • ISO 26000-Managing Social Responsibility
  • ISO 26000 is the international standard developed to help organizations effectively assess and address social responsibilities that are relevant and significant to their mission and vision; operations and processes; customers, employees, communities, and other stakeholders; and environmental impact.
  • ISO 50001-Energy Management
    International management system aimed at tackling climate change, conserving resources and using energy more efficiently through the development of an energy management system (EnMS). It helps organizations manage energy supply and energy uses and consumption, including measurement, documentation, and reporting, design and procurement practices for energy using equipment, systems, processes, and personnel.

Due to increasing market pressure for businesses to embrace ESG practices, many corporations are pursuing implementation of the specific ISO management systems listed above. In the past, ISO standards had a strong industrial bias, mainly in chemical and petrochemical industries. However, with the recent demand for ESG practices, a broad base of manufacturers are seeking certification in ISO, as well as businesses such as banks and technology companies. ISO management systems characterize sustainability into three pillars: economic, social and environmental. As a result, the correlating ISO standards presented above have been created that help businesses thrive, expand and work together, while simultaneously promoting ESG. Implementing ISO standards require a commitment to planning, measurement of progress and a thorough understanding of product lifecycles from beginning to end, all critical to a well-rounded and effective ESG program.

How We Can Help
The EI Group has assisted numerous industrial clients implement ISO systems in the areas of Environmental Management (14001), Occupational Safety & Health (45001) and Energy Management Systems (50001). In addition, we have performed audits of existing ISO Systems in these areas to identify gaps within EHS and energy management site specific operations, allowing us to highlight performance shortfalls and identify risk. EI’s depth of ISO system experience provides an ideal platform for the integration of long-term ESG practices. If you have any questions regarding ISO systems integration or the implementation of ESG programs, please contact Greg Lathan at (919) 459-5223 or [email protected] or Mike Walker at (919) 459-5245 or [email protected].