ISO 14001 is an international system that the University of Greenwich is externally audited for to illustrate to our stakeholders that we have in place systems that help us ensure best practice management our sustainability impacts. The system currently covers all Estates and Facilities functions, although it relates to all staff through, for example, our responsibilities in disposing of waste, and using fewer resources such as energy, water and consumables.
ISO 14001 provides many benefits:
- An externally verified system illustrating our best practice
- As a significant score towards our Green League points total
- A system to help staff understand our legal responsibilities for sustainability issues
- A framework putting in place procedures to ensure best practices in all key impact areas
- A system that provides a timely review of processes and systems ensuring staff are focused and systems are appropriate and compliant
- A programme to integrate sustainability management in all areas of Estates & Facilities
- It can help save money by helping reduce resource usage and reduces the potential legal costs of non-compliance.
Maintaining ISO 14001 requires us having a robust management in system that can illustrate we are compliant with the International Standard. This includes having detailed systems that are followed that illustrate we are reducing and managing risk, meeting compliance, and making continual improvements. Staff are required to ensure they met the requirements in their day to day work and to check this ‘internal auditors’, trained staff review key areas of the university such as catering, transport, waste, campus operations etc. Where improvements are required then ‘non-conformances’ are raised that have to be dealt with by staff at a local level. Annually an external auditor visits to undertake ‘Surveillance Audits’ these review practices to ensure they are in conformance with expectations and can pick up areas for improvement. Every three years a full ‘Compliance Audit’ a more thorough assessment of our management system is undertaken.
Here’s an article (IEMA April 2016) featuring the University of Greenwich’s Head of Sustainability explaining the institution’s approach to ISO 14001.
A resource bank that helps staff, students and other key stakeholders understand our approach and help us meet our goal can be found here.