Business Sustainability

The business benefits of integrating the principles of ISO 9001, ISO 45001, ISO 14001 and ISO 27001

International standards exist to allow businesses and organisations to comply with statutory and other regulations. However, beyond being ‘a tick in a box’ or ‘a piece of paper’, many of these standards have measurable and tangible benefits to the businesses that employ them.

Even when these standards are not compulsory, the prospect of improving relationships with customers, clients and stakeholders, as well as reducing costs, minimising risk and demonstrating to those who matter that you have made an effort and that you care… those are benefits that no business can afford to ignore.

ISO 9001

If you are an organisation or business that would benefit from being able to demonstrate your ability to provide products and services, on a consistent basis, that meet your customers’ needs while benefiting your stakeholders and partners, you could gain a lot from implementing ISO 9001. ISO 9001 is a certified quality management system that enables you to prove to your customers, clients and investors that you are conforming to appropriate standards and aiming to improve on your performance over time.

Organisations and businesses of any size can attain ISO 9001 certification, regardless of which sector they are in or what kind of entity they are, and there are over 1,000,000 companies and organisations that are already ISO 9001 certified. You would be in good company if you decided to seek certification for your own group!

Quality management principles can help any organisation to improve. ISO 9001 includes a firm focus on the customer, and an approach looking at the importance and significance of processes is applicable to any kind of business. One of the most encouraging results seen by organisations that adopt ISO 9001 certification is continual improvement; by making sure that customers can rely on you for consistency in the quality of your goods and services, you can reassure them that you are reliable and trustworthy.

ISO 9001 incorporates the use of internal audits to ensure that any quality management processes that are adopted are working correctly and can be monitored and measured, helping to assure customers and stakeholders of consistent productivity and quality standards that conform to the guidelines set.

What are the benefits of ISO 9001 certification?

Businesses and organisations that gain ISO 9001 certification can expect to see a range of benefits in the course of their work. These include:

  • In some industries, ISO 9001 certification is required in order to bid on certain contracts or carry out particular work. Without this quality management certification, your company or organisation may be excluded from participating and gaining contracts.
  • Even where ISO 9001 is not a contractual obligation, it could provide you with an advantage over your competitors who do not have the certification and who may, therefore, be lacking in a reputable quality management system.
  • When best practices are adhered to, the quality of your products and services will improve, along with the quality of the processes your business applies to its work. This, in turn, can improve productivity, leading to a reduction in running costs.
  • Increased customer satisfaction, thanks to more consistently good-quality products and services, can have a really positive impact on profits.

ISO 45001

ISO 45001 is a framework that organisations can employ that is part of the ISO 45001 family of standards alongside ISO 45003. This framework is for the management of an occupational health and safety best practice system and helps businesses and brands to establish policies, procedures and controls to ensure that you have great working conditions and positive health and safety practices in place. With full adoption of ISO 45001, your business’s health and safety practices and working conditions will adhere to internationally approved best practice guidelines.

What ISO 45001 will offer your organisation

Organisations both large and small can benefit from ISO 45001 because they will learn how to fully understand and implement the best health and safety practices for their business and employees. First comes a full understanding of occupational health and safety, then methods to appropriately implement it into your business’s policies are introduced. Your health and safety management system will be certified when it is ready, and you will understand how to improve your systems on an ongoing basis.

The benefits of ISO 45001

There are a range of benefits that organisations that undertake ISO 45001 certification will enjoy. Setting up these systems is likely to:

  • Reduce the incidences of workplace accidents because better health and safety practices will be in place.
  • Ensure that your organisation has the best possible working conditions set up for your workers, right across your business.
  • Improve relations with staff members and unions, thanks to the safer working conditions that result from implementing the management systems.
  • Make sure that you can identify any hazards and dangers that are present in your organisation and work out a system that establishes controls to manage these risks.
  • Minimise the incidences of illness and sickness in the workplace, as well as absences due to health and safety incidents.
  • Help you to show customers, clients, partners, stakeholders and suppliers that you are showing enthusiasm for great working conditions and taking positive action to achieve them.

ISO 14001

ISO 14001 is an environmental management system that does not specify which environmental targets should be met; instead, it sets up a framework through which you can work out your own priorities and establish how and when you should monitor your progress. Through the ‘Plan Do Check Act’ cycle it employs, organisations and businesses can audit their processes, measure results and take action according to what they find.

When implementing ISO 14001, you will learn how to apply and improve upon environmental factors within your organisation. This provides you with the opportunity to implement processes that will have a positive, long-term impact on your business’s success and reputation, with the capability to measure and monitor your results and put actions into place that will ensure your organisation’s environmental management systems are continually improving.

Companies of any shape and size can profit from implementing ISO 14001 into their management systems. Managing the environmental impact of your business can offer benefits such as:

  • Being able to impress stakeholders, partners, investors, clients and customers with your improved environmental credentials.
  • Money savings over time due to minimised waste and increased efficiency and sustainability.
  • More opportunities for bidding for local and national government contracts, some of which require compliance with international standards such as ISO 14001.
  • The knowledge – and ability to demonstrate – that you are complying with statutory and other regulatory requirements.
  • Increased opportunity to involve senior management and leaders within an organisation with its environmental management systems.

Plan Do Check Act

ISO 14001 methodologies are based on the ‘Plan Do Check Act’ cycle. This involves the following steps:

1. Plan: At this point in the process, organisations establish their objectives and work out which processes they will require for their environmental management system. Any process that interacts with the environment should be identified, and all should be reviewed in order to build a picture of which objectives will be focused on and which processes will be needed.
2. Do: The ‘do’ stage is about implementing the processes that have been identified in the ‘plan’ stage of the cycle. If particular resources are required or certain members of staff are needed throughout the process, this will be set up at this stage. Other procedures, such as emergency preparedness and response, educating employees in the processes identified and set up, and documentation control, are also required at this point. Communication is a vital aspect of the ‘do’ stage of the cycle, as is participation, and senior management in particular must be seen to be proactive in this process.
3. Check: The ‘check’ stage of the cycle is where the performance of the systems that have been set up is monitored and measured. Here, it can be ascertained whether organisations have met their environmental targets and objectives, with internal audits also being carried out periodically to work out whether the environmental management system that has been created is suited to the company and whether the processes and procedures are being followed.
4. Act: During the ‘act’ stage, the results of the ‘check’ stage of the cycle are acted upon, so that performance improves over time based on these. A management review takes place and changing circumstances, such as any new laws or regulations, can be assessed and recommendations to make further improvements can be made.

ISO 27001

Managing information systems is a process that has to be carefully managed within every organisation. Information security (and breaches and insecurity) is always in the news, and keeping assets such as financial information, employee and customer details, intellectual property and other data safe and secure is something every kind of organisation needs to address.

ISO 27001 is part of the ISO 27000 grouping of standards, all designed to help with information security. ISO 27001:2013 used to be the standard to follow but it has since been superseded by ISO 27001:2022. The ISO 27001 itself provides the basis for an information security management system, which is a system dedicated to ensuring that there is a methodical scheme in place that manages sensitive organisational information. It uses a risk management approach to ensure the safekeeping of all this information.

With an information security management system in place, your organisation will be able to establish and implement information security that helps you to achieve your organisational goals. This system will incorporate the operation and monitoring of your systems, and a framework for reviewing, monitoring and measuring your results will be built in. Finally, based on the results you get, you will be able to effectively improve your outcomes, which is reassuring to employees, customers, stakeholders and partners.

Most businesses will have anti-virus software installed and some firewall security in place, but ISO 27001 acknowledges that there are different threads involved in information security and that it must go much further than that. Many people instantly associate information security with technology – and this is, of course, an important factor in modern business information security – but the management of people and processes is also important within ISO 27001 because of the potential that these factors have to threaten (and also to improve upon) information security, too.
Employing both an operational and a strategic approach, ISO 27001 includes a range of security initiatives, each of which plays a vital role in the overall system security. They should be integrated with each other and well co-ordinated to gain the best results.

Whereas ISO 27002 is focused on offering a code of practice for organisations, ISO 27001 is more about the technical specifications of your information security management system. There is not a single document that offers information security solutions for any and every business; instead, ISO 27001 offers a solution that can be adapted to suit your organisation based on its needs, size, sector and requirements.

Benefits of ISO 27001

Organisations can benefit from ISO 27001 compliance in a number of ways. For a start, it offers reassurance to customers, prospects, employees, stakeholders and partners that you will manage their data safely and securely. It also reduces the potential costs of information leaks or failures.

ISO 27001 can also enable organisations to become compliant with other regulatory standards, such as:

  • The Freedom of Information Act 2000
  • The Data Protection Act 1998
  • The Computer Misuse Act 1990
  • The Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1998
  • The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
  • The Telecommunications Regulations Act 1998
  • The Human Rights Act 1998.

Get in touch

If you would like to talk to us about having Business Management Systems help you to attain one or more of these international standards, please do not hesitate to get in touch via this website or by phone on 01527 916 201. We would be happy to talk with you about what we can help you to achieve and which standards would be most suitable for – and beneficial to – your business or organisation.