Rains, floods, droughts, hurricanes, and other natural events are many natural phenomena that have been witnessed in an active and accelerated way in recent years. Could it be global warming? Are we to blame? Everything indicates that it is so. This change is fundamentally a consequence of industrial growth and the increase in the consumption of goods and services in a permanent search for the so-called “Quality of Life”.
Despite the media coverage of the issue of greenhouse gas emissions due to its direct link to climate change, the impact of an organization, whether industrial, commercial, academic or governmental, covers many areas, including that can be mentioned: industrial effluents (chemical, biological), sanitary (wastewater), solid waste, among others, which can cause significant damage to the environment, many of them irreparable and directly affecting our environment.
Due to the aforementioned, mechanisms were developed for the conservation of the natural environment, with the intention of avoiding further damage. Efforts have been joined worldwide, creating strategies based on models that allow establishing guidelines for control, analysis and the best use of resources in production processes. In this way, the International Standard ISO 14000 was born as a universal indicator that reliably evaluates the efforts that an organization makes to reduce its impact. The following groups of environmental standards are associated with this regulation, all forming a set. Generally, the start of organizations in this matter is given by the development of the Environmental Management System (SGA).
ISO Assessment Standards for Organizations:
- 14001 and 14004 Environmental Management System (SGA).
- 14010, 14011, 14012, 14015, 14031 Audit of the implemented environmental management system.
- 14064 Quantification of greenhouse gases .
- 14065 Validation and verification of the quantification of greenhouse gases.
ISO Evaluation Standards for Products:
- 14020, 14021, 14022, 14023 labeling and environmental regulation.
- 14040,14042, 14043, 14044 guide for the interpretation of the life cycle.
Since its introduction in 1996, the ISO 14001 standard has been widely accepted and valued in the Venezuelan industry, which has allowed an increasing implementation of policies focused on reuse, and proper waste disposal. One of the most important steps of this standard is the measurement and monitoring of its environmental emissions, whether at a gaseous, liquid or solid level, since in this way it will be known what preventive and corrective action to apply to optimize its processes, with with a view to achieving the proposed environmental objectives, evaluating their effectiveness for continuous improvement.
The data processing under an Environmental Management System, based on the provisions of the ISO 14001 standard, provides the organization with notoriety before the different government entities, such as the Ministry of Popular Power for the Environment (MINAMB), either through the application of the Organic Law on the Environment, the Penal Law on the Environment, Decrees 4335 and 638 – referring to substances that deplete the ozone layer and air pollution, respectively- Water Law, Decree 883 (referring to polluting effluents in basins), among others. The fact that an organization complies with what is required by the legislation allows it to strengthen its relations with the State.
Additionally, the implementation of the EMS brings benefits such as:
- Improve the corporate image of the organization.
- Reduction of the environmental impact.
- Greater control and use of resources.
- Reuse and reduce waste.
- Cost minimization.
- Staff awareness, since the latter, by feeling integrated with the company’s EMS, will take the initiative to reduce the environmental impact at home.
The implementation of this system simply requires the organizational willingness and environmental commitment to start with a self-assessment and thus plan the development of the EMS stages. The validation of this standard in Venezuela is carried out by the civil association FONDONORMA, which is qualified and accredited to carry out impartial certification audits, in accordance with the ISO 14001 standard.
In conclusion, the monitoring of the operational processes of an organization, with a view to protecting the environment, should not only be appreciated from the perspective of social responsibility, since it can imply a significant opportunity to reduce costs, as long as it is approach these strategies from a proactive perspective. Implements the Environmental Management System, is part of the organizations that with a positive attitude ensure commitment and interest in the environment, becoming aware and making improvements in production in order to preserve the environment.