A.) Standards and Standardization

1. Webster’s definition of a standard is defined as “1: to compare with a standard 2: to bring into conformity with a standard.” Standards are used all the time without giving them so much as a thought; in fact life would be very difficult without them.

2. Some examples of standards include the use of language. Through standardization within a common language, people can communicate their ideas to one another. Another example of standardization is the use of measurements in the United States. A gallon of milk in California is the same as a gallon of milk in Washington D.C for the sake of conformity when establishing their standards throughout the nation.

3. Standards are important for the widespread marketability, efficient production, and use of products. In countries such as the United Kingdom and Japan, their implementation of driving on the left side of the road unlike driving on the right side like the rest of the world is an example of nonconformity of any international standard.

B.) What is ISO

1. ISO, (International Organization for Standardization) based in Geneva Switzerland, is an international organization. ISO was established in 1947 to promote standards in international trade, communications, and manufacturing. ISO is a nongovernmental organization and is comprised of representative member bodies from over 100 nations concerned with standardization. Most members comprise of government organizations, save that of the United States whose representative is a private sector organization, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Since World War II, ISO’s main focus was to rationalize thousands of conflicting standards of various nations.

ISO is a nonprofit organization and is not an arm of the European Union or United Nations. Nor is ISO an agent of any government or federation of governments. ISO is a worldwide organization and has no power to impose its standards.

2. ISO membership falls into three categories.

FULL MEMBER- National body designated bi its respective country as the “most representative of standardization.” Full members represent most nations.

CORRESPONDENT MEMBER- A nation that does not have standardization bodies.

SUBSCRIBER MEMBER- A small nation with a very small economy with a reduced membership rate.

C.) Origins of ISO 14000

1. Rachel Carson, an American marine biologist, is noted as one of the earliest activists for the preservation of the environment. Carson’s landmark 1962 book, silent spring, aroused worldwide concern for the ecology. During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, it was becoming more apparent that if the planet’s ecosystems were not being treated well, then the planet would become suspect to an entire host of dangers ranging from air pollution, contaminated water supplies, and destruction of the ozone layer with the augmented use of CFS (chlorofluorocarbons).

2. With the increase of population, from 2.5 billion in the 1950’s to 6 million in the present day, pollution has kept in pace with human growth. With the more widespread use of our natural resources and the complimentary effect of pollution, the only factor that we can hope to achieve to diminish is the pollution in it self.

3. Regardless on one’s stance on how Global Warming is being caused, it is certain that man has defiled the environment and the earth’s ecosystems must be treated with greater respect if future generations are to have a chance for fulfilling lives.

4. In the United States, Congress passed the U.S. National Environmental Agency Act in 1969 in concern of the way the environment was being treated. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed. The Conference on the Human Environment was convened by the United Nations in 1972 in Stockholm. The products that resulted were the creation of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED).

UNEP was charged with the promotion of worldwide environmental responsibility and awareness. In 1987, WCED published a report calling for industry to develop effective environmental management systems. The outcome of this report was the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and development in Rio de Janeiro (also known as World Summit). ISO was asked to participate due to its reputation of successfully establishing standards for quality management systems. ISO, with the help of the International Electrotechnical Commission, established the Strategic Advisory Group on the Environment (SAGE), which in turn concluded that it was appropriate that ISO develop international environmental management standards and the required auditing tools.

In 1993, when serious work on developing environmental systems was being dealt with, ISO created the Technical Committee 207 (TC 207), which chartered to developing a uniform international environmental management system (EMS) standard and the tools necessary to implement it. In 1996, ISO 14000 was published

D.) Objective of ISO 14000

1. The fundamental objective of ISO 14000 is to assist organizations in preventing environmental impacts and that could result from the organizations’ activities, products, or services.

2. Organizations adhering to ISO 14000 may be assured that their environmental performance meets and will continue to meet its legal and policy requirements. ISO 14000 attempts to do this by providing organizations with the elements of an effective environmental management system.

3. ISO 14000 does not establish environmental goals or dictate absolute environmental performance requirements. Those functions are left to the organization and the regulatory agencies under which the organization operates.