Essay: Social / Environmental Sustainability: What Is ISO?

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Social/Environmental Sustainability

What is ISO? How does it fit into the SBD dialog? What is the ISO 14000 all about and why should we care?

First student response:

The International Standard organization (ISO) created and released the first edition fo the voluntary ISO 14000 standard in October, 1996. Since then, approximately 10,000 companies have voluntarily gained compliance with the program (Castka, Balzarova, 2008). Many myths surround the ISO 14001 and subsequent 14001 standards including the mistaken belief it is primarily for only environmental compliance alone, not to also streamline a business. The opposite is actually closer to the truth, with the ISO 14000 standard contributing to a much greater reduction in process-time and raw material waste than many other initiatives within companies today (Castka, Balzarova, 2008). The ISO 14000 standard is a cornerstone of effective Sustainable Business Development (SBD) initiatives and programs, unifying environmental efforts and programs to support and accelerate an enterprise to its business goals as well.

The essence of the ISO 14000 environmental standards are a set of practices for minimizing the negative effect of companies on the environment, including reduction of air, water and land pollution (Cooper, 1998). The ISO 14000 standard doesn't stop at that specific point however; it also includes an entire series of steps and frameworks for ensuring continual improvement of a firms' performance against these standards. In companies attaining the highest levels of performance and also fueling advances in their SBD initiatives, the entire process becomes systematic and engrained into company culture (Cooper, 1998). When this occurs the lasting change that Continual Improvement Process (CIP) can deliver is often attained and measured in financial terms, including reduction in costs and increases in customer satisfaction over time (Castka, Balzarova, 2008). The integration of a large-scale or enterprise-wide enterprise compliance and quality management (ECQM) initiative is also accomplished when the lessons learned from ISO 14000 certification, which is validated with an outside agency, is attained. The greatest value of ISO 14000 certification is the ability to conduct business more efficiently, profitably, with less of an impact on the environment at the same time.

Second student response:

ISO 14000 is one of many standards that the International Standards Organization (ISO) has created in an effort to bring business value to the difficult area of environmental compliance for companies worldwide. To comply with environmental requirements is seen as a waste of time, money, resources and the opportunity to invest in R&D and new product development instead. But ISO 14000 has shown value as a means to streamline business strategies that were highly inefficient and difficult to make work in broader contexts (Graff, 1997). Where companies are getting the most out of ISO 14000 practices are in those areas where fines would become so high that the profits would be drained from each sale made. This includes making and selling potentially toxic products including chemicals and resins, in addition to paints and toners. ISO 14000 makes a company more in compliance to government regulations, however it is not required to operate in a given region of the world. it's more of an insurance policy to make sure processes stay in boundaries of performance while also making them more effective. Compliance and quality are two very important objectives today for any organization and ISO 14000 provides a framework for companies to achieve more while also accomplishing sustainable business development (SBD) objectives too.

This LEEDs thing... what's that all about and how does it fit… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Social / Environmental Sustainability: What Is ISO?.  (2012, January 30).  Retrieved December 11, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/social-environmental-sustainability/64039

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"Social / Environmental Sustainability: What Is ISO?."  Essaytown.com.  January 30, 2012.  Accessed December 11, 2019.
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