ISO certifications can help public sector bodies become more sustainable

Electricty pylons
Published on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 15:49
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

With increasing pressure on public finances, and the need to reduce our environmental impact, it is an incredibly challenging time for most public sector organisations. 

When you combine these factors with the huge amount of restructuring which is being undertaken – and the stress that comes with it – the need for strong leadership, innovative thinking and effective management systems is evident.

Leadership skills can be developed and honed through training programmes such as ILM – a series of qualifications that many public sector organisations ask their managers to undertake.

Whereas meeting the challenges of streamlining processes, minimising environmental impact and becoming sustainable can be achieved through internationally recognised management standards such as ISO 9001.

ISO 9001 is the most popular of the ISO standards. By becoming ISO 9001 certified and implementing a new quality management system organisations are able to streamline their processes, increasing staff awareness of quality matters and reducing product defects. This not only helps organisations to make savings but it improves customer satisfaction levels and sustainability.

ISO 14001 is the second most popular standard in the world today; it provides organisations with an effective environmental management system. In addition to managing and reducing an organisations impact on the environment, the standard helps to mitigate environmental risks and comes with the added benefits of cost savings and reduced insurance premiums.

While the drive to become more sustainable is based on the need to avoid dangerous climate change, there is still the need to mitigate the existing and likely impacts of global warming. This is where one of the newest standards, ISO 50001, can help. ISO 50001 provides organisations with an effective energy management system that can dramatically reduce carbon emissions and costs while creating transparency and improving operational efficiency. This helps to increase energy security and enables compliance with future legislation.

As global warming and carbon emissions continue to headline the news, the UK civil contingency act 2004 is putting legal obligation upon emergency services and local authorities to assess the risk of, plan, and exercise for emergencies, by undertaking business continuity management.  ISO 22301 is the international standard for business continuity management, helping organisations to prepare for, identify and overcome any crisis. By having an effective business continuity management system (BCMS) an organisation can reduce downtime, ensure vital records are maintained and protected, in addition to avoiding potential liability during a crisis.

While it might appear to be a lot for an organisation to invest in all four at once, each standard can play an important role in creating an effective and sustainable public sector for the 21st century.

Source: ©QMS International plc

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