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ISO 1400 -Reply



Greetings from the US EPA's Voluntary Standards Network!

After I read the article that went out under this original subject heading, I
just wanted to provide a gentile reminder on the meaning of ISO 14001.
I am not commenting on the effectiveness or quality of Standard Fruit's
EMS, just on what ISO 14001 certification means.  

The article stated:

                  "... ISO 14001
                  certification, which is granted to companies
                  with effective systems for minimizing the
                  impact of their production on the environment."

My comments:

-  "Certification" means that an organization's environmental management
system contains  the requirements of the standard (ie the organization
has an environmental policy; has identified its environmental aspects and
legal requirements; has set objectives and targets; etc.).  An
organizations actual "impact" on the environment or environmental
performance is not taken into consideration in the certification process
as is implied by the article.

The article further stated:

                  "As company sources explained, this means the
                  implementation of a strict and thorough system
                  of environmental handling which assures the
                  health of the workers and does not harm the
                  environment. "

My comments:

-  Standard Fruit may have great health and safety measures, but it
should be noted that the standard is explicit when it comes to
occupational health and safety.  While the standard does not discourage
an organization from including occupational health and safety elements,
the standard itself does not, nor was it intended to, address these
elements.  The certification process is only applicable to aspects of the
environmental management system.

Eric Wilkinson
U.S. EPA
401 M St. SW (MC 7409)
Washington, DC  20460
phone: 202-260-3575
fax:  202-260-0178