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ISO Standards: How the right management system could help protect and enhance your business in 2024

As businesses look towards another year filled with significant challenges and opportunities, putting in place a certified ISO management system could be one of the best ways to ensure your company continues to thrive. Frances Stones, Lead IMS Auditor at Mayer Environmental Ltd, with 20 years experience as a 3rd party certification auditor, tells us more.


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Frances Stones

Management systems help ensure your business is effective, efficient and protected from potential risks. While it is possible to operate a management system without following International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards, a certified ISO management system provides confidence to customers and other stakeholders that your company is meeting and has been audited against externally recognised benchmarks.

Following the last recession, statistics were released, which showed companies using an externally-certified ISO 9001 quality management system were more likely to survive an economic downturn. In a report from 2015, commissioned by BSI, The Centre for Economic Business Research calculated that the UK’s world-leading standards regime actually boosted sales of UK products and services, averaging 3.2% of annual exports or £6.2 billion each year.

Over the last 10 years, the ISO management systems have been ‘refreshed’ to reflect a risk-based approach and to consider the ‘context’ of your organisation. This requires a greater understanding of the needs of your stakeholders (interested parties) and your wider business risks, threats, strengths and opportunities. This is sustainability in its broader meaning – supporting the continued success of your business through increased resilience and constant evolution.

Another benefit of the ISO management systems is that they encourage a process of continual improvement. It is a thread that runs through all of the ISO standards via the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle.

By planning, doing, checking your effectiveness and then acting on any strengths or weaknesses highlighted, firms who follow ISO standards can make tangible improvements to their operations. This can then inform your future planning, and the PDCA cycle begins again. The old adage is true, “if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards.”

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Although the ISO framework covers a vast range of areas, these are the most common ISO standards:

  • Quality Management (ISO 9001:2015)

This helps an organisation to maintain the consistency and quality of their products or services. It aims to enhance customer satisfaction by meeting the requirements and expectations of customers and any statutory or regulatory requirements.

  • Environmental Management (ISO 14001:2015)

This standard focuses on the prevention of pollution and being compliant with the growing number of regulations driving protection of the environment. For most permitted organisations there will be a legal requirement to have an environmental management system, such as ISO 14001:2015, in place.

  • Occupational Health and Safety (ISO 45001:2018 / ISO 45001:2023)

Based on a previous British Standard (OHSAS 18001), this management system centres around the protection of employees and other workers – keeping everyone safe whilst at work. It also focuses on longer term health risks, such as potential hearing loss, respiratory illnesses and includes mental health, wellbeing and welfare.

  • Energy Management (ISO 50001:2018)

The UK’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) requires organisations to conduct an ESOS Assessment by June this year, but ISO 50001:2018 certification is an alternative way to remain compliant. Organisations of all kinds face rising energy costs, and there are direct financial savings to be gained from having this energy-focussed management system in place.

  • Information Security, Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection (ISO 27001:2022)

This recently-updated ISO management system tackles the growing risks associated with cybersecurity, holding large amounts of customer data and even the physical security of a business’s operations. Those companies already operating under the previous version have until October 2025 to meet the requirements of the new standard.

Knowing where to start can be daunting, and many organisations find it beneficial to use independent consultants to support their company through the process of implementing or updating their ISO management systems. However, you should try to avoid the pitfalls of an ‘off the shelf’ or ‘one size fits all’ approach. An effective ISO management system will be bespoke to you – designed to suit your unique operations and business requirements. In addition, consideration should be given to integrating the requirements of different ISO standards into one integrated management system (IMS) to maximise efficiency and minimise duplication.

ISO management systems can play a vital role in the long-term health of your organisation, and as you look ahead to another busy year, why not make 2024 the one in which you implement an ISO management system and unlock these benefits for your business?

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About the Author:

Frances Stones BSc, LLM, CEnv, MIEMA, IEMA Registered Principal Auditor, ESOS Lead Assessor, Sub-contract 3rd Party Auditor

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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management [e2e] is the UK’s only salvage and automotive recycling network with nationwide, environmentally compliant sites delivering performance resilience and service reliability to the insurance and fleet markets.  The network’s online salvage auction drives strong salvage resale values and faster sales.  e2e’s salvage clients have access to the network’s stocks of over 5 million quality graded, warranty assured reclaimed parts. 

The power of the network model means e2e has the ability to influence industry standards and is committed to continually raising the bar whilst redefining the role and perceived value of the salvage operator.  Network members adhere to robust service level agreements, against which they are audited, in order to ensure performance consistency and a market leading customer experience.  

The salvage and recycling operating environment is evolving rapidly, and e2e is anticipating, listening and responding to changing market needs.  Regulatory compliance, ESG, reclaimed parts, customer experience, EVs, new vehicle technologies, data and reputation risk are just some of many considerations linked to the procurement of salvage services.  e2e will drive further added value to clients and members through the adoption and application of emerging technologies, continuing to differentiate its proposition and position salvage services as a professional partnership. 

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