10 reasons why ISO 14001 matters to SMEs



Even the smallest organization has a lot to gain from a certified Environmental Management System (EMS)

New businesses often ponder the benefits of ISO 14001 Certification, and, being busy with start-up priorities, postpone certification until it is asked for in a tender document or by a prospective customer. 

At that point, it is, of course, too late. Optimistically, it takes a minimum of 5 months to get certified by which time the opportunity is lost.

You should be proactive about your business's impact on the environment (and the law requires it) and the list of benefits here can be used to persuade yourself and colleagues to get started sooner rather than later down the road to ISO 14001 Certification.

10 Practical Benefits of ISO 14001 2015 CertificationCTA 14001 29 step Infographic

While helping to preserve our environment, here are 10 more benefits SMEs and others will enjoy from being certified to the latest version of ISO 14001:

  1. Recognized reputation as an environmentally responsible business and you have the internationally-recognized Certificate to prove it,
  2. Larger pool of qualified candidates applying to work with your business because of this reputation,
  3. Reduced frequency of environmental incidents and a corresponding reduction in the number of times you need to advise Environmental Protection Agencies of such adverse events.,
  4. Improved ability to respond to regulatory compliance issues with an improved relationship with the regulatory authorities as a consequence,
  5. Reduced cost of Environmental Incidents as you have a system in place to prevent their recurrence,
  6. Reduced downtime and the costs of disruption to operations because of fewer Environmental Incidents and, when they occur, they are dealt with systematically and efficiently,
  7. Reduced cost of insurance premiums as insurance companies recognise that certified businesses make fewer, and less costly, claims,
  8. Peer recognition for having achieved an international benchmark, which in turn influences current and potential customers who are concerned about their social responsibilities)
  9. Improved scoring in pre-tender documents (especially from public sector organizations): helps ensure that your organization gets a chance to compete with established businesses.
  10. Reduced fines if prosecuted as your certification constitutes objective evidence to a court of the seriousness with which environmental aspects are treated.

So, if you don't have a certification to ISO 14001:2015, or you need ‘ammunition’ to persuade your colleagues, you now have 10 good reasons where the financial benefits, as well as the practical ones, can be calculated.  Your staff and your customers will thank you for it.

When is the right time to get ISO 14001:2015 Certified?

Let's distinguish between managing the environmental aspects of your business and implementing a formal Environmental Management System.

As processes are established as part of a start-up, you'll need to address the control of environmental aspects as they are realized with environmental management activities.

By the time you think about going forward for certification, a lot of the foundation work (in the form of risk assessments and environmental programmes, for example) will already have been completed.

As soon as processes and procedures are bedded in, you can start your certification project.  You definitely won't regret it knowing that the potential for harm to the environment is under control and in line with both legal and regulatory requirements. 

And you'll have your ISO 14001 Certificate as proof of your commitment and achievements regarding minimising your environmental impact.

And start with some relevant training

If you're wondering where to start with certification, begin by considering our ISO 14001 Lead Implementer Course as well as the other posts we have published about this standard (search 'News' for 'ISO 14001').


Note: Originally posted in October 2019; revised and updated in February 2022.

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deGRANDSON Global is an ISO Certified Educational Organization

New call-to-actionIn October 2021 we secured certification to three education-related ISO Standards.  We now have a university-grade management system in place conforming to the requirements of  …

  • ISO 21001, Educational Organizational Management System,
  • ISO 29993, Learning Services outside formal Education,  and
  • ISO 29994, Learning Services – additional requirements for Distance Learning.

We have chosen ISO 21001 certification because, unlike IRCA and Exemplar badges (which in our opinion are commercially compromised), it is based on independent third-party assessment.  It is a ‘university grade’ standard in use globally by schools, colleges, and universities to demonstrate their competence.


Written by Dr John FitzGerald

Director & Founder of deGRANDSON Global. Spent 15 years in the manufacturing industry and 25 years training, consulting & auditing management systems
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