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How much does ISO 14001 implementation cost?

“How much will the ISO 14001 implementation cost?” is usually one of the first questions that members of top management will ask when a proposal is made for ISO 14001 implementation, and naturally so. While there is no “ready reckoner” for costing implementation for your organization, there are several important elements we can consider that can provide some guidance with this issue. Let us consider what they are:

1. The cost of buying the standard

Some organizations try and implement ISO 14001 without knowledge or purchasing of the standard. Don’t fall into this trap! The cost of buying the standard is small versus the amount of time and resources you will spend trying to fill in any gaps or mistakes you have by not having full possession of all the facts. This will also make your gap analysis easier when you have the requirements of the standard to compare your EMS (Environmental Management System) with.

2. Training, education, and literature

You will almost certainly need to invest in time, training, and literature to get your employees ready for ISO 14001 implementation. Whether purchasing literature or using online tools such as this free ISO 14001 foundations course, you will almost certainly have to invest some time and money into educating and setting expectations amongst your people.

3. Technology and investment to meet the terms of the standard

It can be difficult to predict whether you need to invest in resources and technology for such a project, but you need to consider it at the start. Do you have the necessary expertise and resources to implement ISO 14001? If you have the expertise, do your people have the time? This will be a question only you can answer, depending on the size of your organization and the scope of its EMS, and depending on the context of your particular organization. Consider technology and software; it may be that you decide to subscribe to an online service that keeps your organization up to date on issues of legislation – how much will this cost? You will have to consider all these elements when costing out your project.

4. Employee time and the cost

Projects such as an ISO 14001 implementation always take a considerable time investment. With the increased leadership requirements, which you can read more about in the article How to demonstrate leadership according to ISO 14001, you will need a significant time investment from not only your employees, but your leaders, too. Take time aligning the terms of the standard versus your organizational structure, and this should be easier to estimate costs on. Consider the clauses on consultation, communication, training, awareness, and knowledge for example, and you will begin to have a basis for calculating how much management and employee time you will require, and the subsequent cost.

5. Cost of certification and surveillance audits

Certification against the ISO 14001 standard is what most organizations seek to provide tangible proof to stakeholders and the public that the company’s EMS is indeed effective and efficient. You can receive an accurate estimation of this cost from any number of certification bodies in your country who are accredited to and approved by your national certification body. The cost of the certification audit and the subsequent two surveillance audits (annually, on or at least one day before the anniversary of your initial certification) can be accurately quoted for your costings.

Preparing the final cost of ISO 14001

So, as you can see, there are several different factors that can influence the cost of your ISO 14001 implementation project. It almost goes without saying that if you operate a multi-site recycling business, then the cost and resources of implementing ISO 14001 will be far greater than in a small office. These are the types of contextual considerations you will have to make on the journey towards estimating a cost for your project. On the other hand, in the article Six key benefits of ISO 14001, we considered the benefits that implementation brings, and as we can see from the ISO statistics on numbers of 14001 certificates gained in recent years, the benefits obviously outweigh the costs for many organizations the world over. Given that fact, and with protecting the environment being high up on every large company’s list, can you afford not to implement ISO 14001?

To see how different implementation options could affect your budget planning, use this free white paper: How to budget an ISO 14001 implementation project.

Advisera John Nolan
John Nolan
John Nolan is a Fellow of the Institute of Leaders and Managers in the United Kingdom, and Prince 2 accredited with a background in Engineering and Electronics and Data Storage and Transfer. Having studied and qualified as both a Mechanical and Electronic Engineer, he has spent the last 15 years designing and delivering Quality Systems and projects across many sectors in the UK, including both national and local government.