How does ISO 14001 work banner

ISO 14001 is an internationally recognised standard for Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and provides a structured framework for organisations to manage their environmental impact effectively.

At Sandland Packaging, we’ve found that being able to bring together our sustainability journey into one cohesive plan has helped us to understand better where we are and where we want to be. It’s great we can incorporate our CarbonNeutral status, tree planting with OTP, EcoVadis Bronze award and FSC certification into a strong strategy for sustainability and growth.

The Core Principles of ISO 14001

ISO 14001 is based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, which ensures continuous improvement in environmental performance. This cycle involves:

Plan: Establishing objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the organisation’s environmental policy.

Do: Implementing the processes as planned.

Check: Monitoring and measuring processes against the environmental policy, objectives, legal and other requirements, and reporting the results.

Act: Taking actions to continually improve performance of the environmental management system.

Key Steps

1. Initial Review and Gap Analysis

The first step in achieving ISO 14001 is to conduct an initial environmental review. This involves assessing current practices and identifying areas where improvements are needed. A gap analysis helps in understanding the discrepancies between the existing system and the requirements of ISO 14001.

2. Developing an Environmental Policy

The next step is to develop an environmental policy that reflects the company’s commitment to environmental management. This policy should be communicated to all employees and stakeholders, setting the tone for the organisation’s environmental objectives.

In Sandland Packaging’s case, we were able to incorporate our Carbon Neutral status, tree planting with OTP and FSC accreditation as part of our initial assessment.

3. Planning

Planning involves setting specific environmental objectives and targets, considering legal and other requirements, and identifying the resources needed to achieve these goals. This stage includes a risk assessment to identify potential environmental impacts and opportunities for improvement.

4. Implementation and Operation

During the implementation phase, companies establish roles and responsibilities, provide necessary training, and implement the processes and procedures needed to achieve their environmental objectives. This often includes measures such as waste reduction, energy efficiency, and pollution prevention.

5. Monitoring and Measurement

Monitoring involves tracking performance against the set objectives and targets. Companies must measure key performance indicators and conduct regular internal audits to ensure compliance with ISO 14001 standards. This step is crucial for identifying non-conformities and areas for improvement.

6. Review and Continual Improvement

Management reviews are conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the EMS and to ensure it remains relevant and effective. This stage focuses on continuous improvement, ensuring that the company adapts to changes in regulations, technology, and market conditions.

Benefits of ISO 14001

Regulatory Compliance

Environmental regulations are stringent – ISO 14001 helps companies stay compliant by providing a systematic approach to identifying and adhering to legal requirements.

Enhanced Reputation

UK consumers and businesses are increasingly prioritising sustainability. ISO 14001 certification enhances a company’s reputation by demonstrating its commitment to environmental stewardship, which will attract customers, investors, and partners who value sustainability.

Cost Savings

Implementing ISO 14001 can lead to significant cost savings through efficient resource management, waste reduction, and energy savings. For example, some ‘waste’ products can be sold if they are valuable, or some resource use can be reduced if better managed.

Market Advantage

ISO 14001 certification can provide a competitive edge in the UK market. Many tenders and contracts, especially from public sector organisations, require ISO 14001 certification, making it a valuable asset for winning new business.

Employee Engagement

Engaging employees in environmental initiatives can boost morale and productivity. ISO 14001 can contribute to a positive organisational culture and higher employee retention rates.

ISO 14001 provides a robust framework which enhances environmental performance, supports compliance with regulations, and helps achieve sustainable growth. By following a structured approach to environmental management, companies can realise significant benefits, from cost savings to improved reputation and market competitiveness. Embracing ISO 14001 is not just about meeting standards—it’s about committing to a sustainable future.

To find out more about Sandland Packaging’s sustainability journey and how we can help you with CarbonNeutral packaging, please get in touch with our friendly team.


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