ISO 14001 environmental performance as a stand-alone tool and back up requirement from other environmental tools for enhanced performance: South African case study .

Matela, Puseletso Sylvia
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Despite benefits claimed by organisations on ISO 14001 such as improved environmental performance and gaining of business advantage, there are disputes that the standard does not lead to improved environmental performance. The purpose of the study was to establish environmental performance of ISO 14001 in South Africa; and environmental management tools that can back up ISO 14001 standard for enhanced performance. The study was based on questionnaires, interviews and documents. The outcome of the study was that ISO 14001 is implemented in South Africa mainly to gain business advantage whilst aiding in improved environmental behaviour. Benefits obtained from ISO 14001 certification by organisation include environmental awareness and responsibility by employees across the board, more organised data management, reduced environmental costs, no environmental liabilities and gaining good reputation with the public, government, insurers and other stakeholders. However the issue of costs is considerably a limitation for companies to register for ISO 14001. The environmental management tools mostly implemented are those closely associated with ISO 14001 such as Environmental Auditing, Environmental Performance Indicators and Environmental Reporting. Other tools such as Design for Environment, Life Cycle assessment, Extended Producer Responsibility, and Eco- Mapping are not popular in South Africa which can imply missed opportunities. Strategic incorporation of these Environmental management tools into ISO 14001 include simplicity, innovation, use of incentives, industrial associations and benchmarking, new thinking, education, building on existing business practices and broadening the use of ISO 14001 standard.
Student Number : 9612417M - MSc(Eng) research report - School of Civil and Environmental Engineering - Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment
ISO 14001, environmental performance, environmental management tools, South Africa, benefits