ISO 14000 Gaining Acceptance in the US
The Navigator talked with Todd Heller, an ISO 14000 instructor and EMS auditor with
AQSR International, about ISO 14000 gaining acceptance in the U.S.:
Navigator: Which companies in the U.S. are adopting ISO 14000?
Todd Heller: Prior to June of 1999, only 4000 companies in the entire US
were ISO 14000 certified. Since then, there have been 750 registrations. This sudden
growth can be attributed to the rising number of companies in the automotive industry
who are getting ISO 14000 certified. Ford, GM, Volvo, Jaguar, and Daimler-Benz have
all required their suppliers to become certified by 2001 or 2002. Because of these
requirements, the automotive industry will most likely see the biggest growth in
ISO 14000 registrations this year.
Navigator: What are some of the key implementation points of which companies need
to be aware?
Todd Heller: One of the most important points a company should remember is
to identify all their environmental aspects and impacts. Also key to implementation
is the company's commitment to regulatory compliance. Companies must make a commitment
to prevention of pollution, and continual improvement. Once applicable policies,
aspects, and impacts are defined, the organization must focus on training and communication
to promote the standard.
Navigator: What are companies struggling with in their implementation of ISO 14000?
Todd Heller: A major challenge for companies is their EMS documentation -
how and where it fits into the ISO/QS-9000 structure. Companies can structure their
systems using the traditional QS-9000-like Level I to Level IV approach, the 'bare
bones' minimum requirements of the standard. Or their system can resemble a QS-9000
Level I for the EMS requirements with links to their QS-9000 procedures - or anywhere
in between. This second approach is the most common and can be done quite effectively
if the organization knows how to complement those QS-9000 procedures. Also, it's
far easier for companies to implement an EMS when they have a Quality Management
System (QMS). Mostly, both systems complement and even rely on each other because
of their differences.
Navigator: Are you seeing any significant trends you are seeing today in ISO 14000
Todd Heller: As I mentioned earlier, the significant trends we in AQSR are
seeing among ISO registrations involve the acceptance of ISO 14000 by automotive
OEM and OEM supplier companies. To a lesser degree, we are also seeing a trend among
waste disposal companies that service the automotive industry. All are seeking registration
because of automotive mandates. In 1998, the automotive industry made up 6% of the
ISO 14001 registrations. That number may grow to over 50 percent this year. A recent
survey in Informed Update revealed that over 55 percent of 1,600 surveyed QS-9000
registered companies are implementing ISO 14001. Additionally, a large number of
AQSR EMS registrations have come from our QS-9000 client base. We have gone from
15 registrations to over 50 in less than a year. We project that by the end of the
year, we will have over 100 registrations.
Navigator: What kind of training are you doing?
Todd Heller: In addition to Lead Auditor training, the most popular training
is Documentation and Implementation. In addition to helping an organization identify
and rate its environmental aspects, this training demonstrates how companies can
fit their QMS to EMS. Todd Heller is the Manager of AQSR International's ISO 14000
program. He is a lead auditor of ISO 14000 EMS and a RABQSA certified auditor of
ISO 9000 QMS, and conducts five types of training courses for Omnex and AQSR (see
insert for ISO 14000 training dates). Or, for more information, contact Todd Heller