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ISO 14001: The benefits for customers

Most organizations that certify their EMS (Environmental Management System) to ISO 14001:2015 will be reasonably well informed on the benefits this will bring. These benefits include things such as reduced costs, improved environmental performance and an improved reputation. Sometimes, however, it is easy to forget that there are defined and measurable benefits to customers that result from using goods and services from an ISO 14001:2015 certified company. In this article, you will learn why these benefits can be compelling reasons to choose an ISO 14001:2015 certified company as a partner.

Identifying ISO 14001 benefits for customers

In the article 6 key benefits of using ISO 14001 we considered the benefits that an organization can expect to see from implementing the standard in their EMS. While there are some key similarities between these benefits and those we can identify for customers, it is wise for an ISO 14001:2015 certified company to consider customer benefits carefully. The identification, communication and promotion of these benefits can be a key to winning business in a competitive marketplace. So, how do we identify these key benefits in a way that could make your company a more attractive proposition for potential customers?

Reputation. Many organizations want to promote their product or service as being more environmentally responsible than the competition. Purchasing a service from a company who is ISO 14001:2015 certified will allow them to do so legitimately.

In the article Driving your supply chain to ISO 14001 compliance we examined how best to lower the environmental impact of your product or service all the way up your supply chain. For many resellers of your goods, this type of initiative is valuable, so make sure you can communicate clearly and effectively to gain an edge over the competition. The article How to manage outsourced suppliers in line with ISO 14001:2015 can also give you more assistance with this topic.

Another good example is certification against ISO 14001 in the wine industry: How ISO 14001 can make your wine business sustainable.

Reduced prices. ISO 14001 can help organizations to remove waste from processes, save on utilities and raw materials, and become more flexible towards change. Achieving these reductions can often bring an improvement in margins and therefore profit. This can give your business a key decision to make: Is your level of business sufficiently good that you can continue to enjoy this increased margin, or do you want to attract more customers by reducing your prices? If your organization chooses the latter, it is likely you may have to plan for more business expansion in future. Whatever your choice, it is apparent that ISO 14001 can provide you with the ability to attract more customers by reducing your prices due to the operation of a more efficient EMS.

Ease of doing business. One of the benefits of ISO 14001 is that your organization will have developed standardized ways of doing business that is in line with the requirements of the standard. Whether dealing with communication, non-conformities or customer complaints, your customer can expect a standard method and output from any ISO 14001 certified supplier. This has distinct benefits in terms of the ease of doing business. The article ISO 14001 Case Study: How to handle complaints can provide an example of this.

Product longevity and end of life disposal. If you read the article Lifecycle perspective in ISO 14001:2015 – What does it mean? you will know that the new lifecycle perspective requirements of ISO 14001 look to both maximize the life of a product and ensure it is dealt with ethically and efficiently at end of life. Both are good news for your customer and, in turn, they ensure that these benefits are known to their end user. As a result, your products will be more attractive and desirable.

For example, a customer purchasing an electronic product from an ISO 14001 certified company can reasonably expect the supply and manufacture of the product to contain more recycled raw material. He can also expect more ethically sourced material during manufacturing, an extended lifecycle for the product itself, and an end-of-life recycling scheme that immediately recycles or reuses certain parts of the product in the manufacture of a new or refurbished product.

Key ISO 14001 benefits to customers

Stating the case for ISO 14001 to your customers

Many of the benefits that an ISO 14001:2015 certified company can bring to a customer can only be appreciated after the relationship is established, therefore it makes business sense to market these benefits as a selling point. If your customer understands that your environmental aims are always aligned with your business goals, and that legislation compliance and improving recycling methods and rates are all underpinned by a commitment to continual improvement, then your organization immediately becomes a more desirable business partner. Make the market realize this and your organization can flourish in a competitive marketplace by promoting good environmental practices.

To see other benefits of ISO 14001 download this free white paper: How can ISO 14001 help your business grow?

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.