E is for Environment

Image by Samantha
David Trevelyan
December 9, 2020
Advent Alphabet Series

The environment is a massive area (510M km2 to be precise) but with different implications and meanings across the whole ISO family.

Let us start with the obvious one, ISO14001 Environmental Management; which covers an organisations impacts (negative and positive!) on the environment. When thinking about the geographic context of environmental impacts, generally these vary from global to local and would look something like this:

  1. Greenhouse Gas Emission and Climate Change
  2. Resource Use in products and operations
  3. Waste and waste management
  4. Chemical pollution of Land, Water and Air

When we expand these to consider other ISO’s, they then start to show how they impact all areas of the business. In Health and Safety, we need a safe environment to operate in, and there is a direct link between health and safety incidents and environmental impacts. Frequently incidents result in creation of waste (broken stuff) so fixing H&S issues tends to fix environmental ones too.

In quality, there is a specific reference to the work environment. Again the link is that business operations run cleanly, smoothly and efficiently are more environmentally friendly and ultimately sustainable and safe.

It would not be a Christmas countdown without some reference to Elves and Santa; forecasts are that by 2035 the North Pole (Arctic) could be ice-free during the summer months. This poses a massive problem for Elf base FMCG production because picking up on the ISO is the Environmental impact will be considerable due to facility flooding, the Health and Safety implications of falling into the Arctic Ocean are too much to even think about, and quality is going to plummet carrying out submersed manufacturing.

Considering all this, we must manage our environmental impacts, to protect the environment and to avoid difficult conversations about what happens to the elves when all the ice melts.

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