How does ISO Apply to Green Certification?

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How does ISO Apply to Green Certification?

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Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 11:00am


While popular in Europe, the International Standards Organization (ISO) is lesser known in the United States.  One of the common questions encountered is how does ISO work and isn’t the ISO 14000 a Green certification.  ISO certainly is an impressive organization, and it may be best understood as having an emphasis one quality control and risk management.    An ISO review is designed to examine and test every part of the company’s process to assure that the company’s program is “transparent” and “reliable.”

When companies are doing business across borders and must rely on the ability of a supportive company to perform, the ISO certification allows the transparency of process to be demonstrated.  The chances of a failure by the company is also part of the system.  This is why the layman might look at the ISO program as a quality control program more than a guide for the basic operation.  With the myriad of companies in existence and the infinite variations of their process, ISO is not a conformity initiative as much as it is a reliability examination of the system.

ISO certification is exhaustive and expensive.  The apparent goal is to review and evaluate every step of the company’s process and suggest improvements that will insure efficiency, reliability, and smart operation.  This is something of value for inter-related systems that would be adversely affected by the faults, delays, and failures of supporting companies.  Consider it like an audit of a bank to make sure that the bank is operating properly and the money in trust is handled well.  We depend upon bank, and the regulatory systems are to assure that banks do not fail because of poor management.  The same could be said of the airline industry.   We count on everyone doing their job and doing their job at a superior level of performance.  The constant audit and inspection of the airline system is in our best interest.

ISO is not designed to provide the systems to run the company but to measure the reliability and efficiency of the operation.  Therefore, with the introduction of ISO 14000, questions arise as to whether this is the new standard for a Green or sustainable company?  Not really, but the ISO 14000 is certainly a very tough review (or test) or whether your company is stepping up to sustainable standards.  In other words, a test is different from the preparation for the test.

In a complimentary manner, the Green Business League is the plan or preparation that may be required for any size company.  In a very practical manner, the GBL Green business program provides what is now known as the “Sustainability Plan.”  This is the first step in developing a Green or sustainable company.  It is also more practical and much more affordable than the ISO program.  However, if and when a company chooses to move on to the ISO certification, there is now a program in place that can be measured and even improved by examining the quality of the program along with the general operation of the company.

ISO will not provide a business plan for your company, but it will measure its effectiveness.  ISO will not provide a marketing or financial plan for the company, but will test whether what is in place it credible enough for other companies to trust.  While  I am sure that ISO would explain the comparison more profoundly than I would, there is a need to simplify and illustrate the value of each system.  Both have merit, and yet the process seems to need a little bit of “layman’s logic” to help American businesses understand how to make these new applications work for their unique business applications.

The Green Business League is the premier Green and Sustainable business certifications.  Frankly, the GBL emphasis on “Green Practices” make their entry-level program the first in what might be increasingly challenging Green certification.  Businesses choose the Green Business League because of its integrity and authority in the market.  Every GBL Green business certification is accomplished by a live audit and according to a national standard.   Green Business League stands strongly against website Green certification that are frankly deceptive program offering Green certifications via a “blind audit” and the mere payment of a fee.  To avoid embarrassment and unkind press, seek out credible programs that insist on live audits and have serious certification requirements.



Michael Jay
Green Business League
Keywords: Audit | Green Business League | ISO | ISO 1400 | Sustainability | Sustainable | Sustainable Business | green business | green certification | sustainability certification