What are the Insights into the global ISO 14001:2015 marketplace in 2020?

So, you have heard a lot about ISO 14001:2015 being the International Standard for Environmental Management Systems. But wonder, just how big ISO 14001 is in global terms.
A recently completed ISO survey provides the answers…

Background the the ISO Survey
On 7 September 2020, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published their survey of accredited certifications and sites for the calendar year 2019.

The ISO Survey is an annual survey of the number of valid certificates to ISO management system standards worldwide. It started in 1993 with a survey on ISO 9001 then taking onboard ISO 14001 certification in 1999 and has expanded to embrace 12 Management System Standards, such as ISO/IEC 27001 for information security and ISO 39001:2012 Road traffic safety management systems. The providers of data are the certification bodies accredited by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) MLA Members, such as UKAS in the UK and ANAB in the United States.

The collection of data for the 2019 Survey was started in February 2020, around the time of the start of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic across the world. However, despite the challenges faced by the certification bodies to adapt to the new situation, the participation to the survey was good and comparable to the previous year. It is understood that around 430 accredited certification bodies took part in the survey this year

Although, the explanatory notes to the survey point out that some fluctuations at the country level may be explained by the non-participation of the some important certification bodies, such as Bosnia, Korea, Japan, The Netherlands, Turkey, the UK and the US.

What is covered
For the purposes of the ISO Survey, a certificate is the document issued by a certification body once the client has demonstrated conformity to the International Standard and a “site” is a permanent location where an organization carries out work or a service.

As an overview, the survey provides a table displaying the total number of valid certificates and the total number of sites for each of the 12 Management System Standards covered by the survey.

ISO 14001:2015 Analysis
For this article, I have selected the main environmental International Standards, ISO 14001:2015 for environmental management systems and ISO 50001:2018 for energy management systems & used ISO 9001:2015 for quality and ISO 45001:2018 for occupational health and safety management systems for comparision purposes.

For ISO 14001:2015, the global total certificates are 312,580, which compares with the global total for ISO 9001:2015 of 883,521 certificates & 18,227 certificates for energy management systems and 38,654 certificates for occupational health and safety management systems.

Comparing the latest 2019 survey with the previous 2018 survey, we can see that the number of ISO 14001:2015 certificates have increased by 5,521 (approximately a 2% increase), which is a steady growth. This can be compared with 4,857 for ISO 9001 (approximately a 0.5% increase), 168 for ISO 5001 and 26,702 for ISO 45001. The increase for ISO 45001 may be due to the transition from OHSAS 18001:2007, which was a British Standard, to the International Standard, ISO 45001:2018.

Looking at the distribution of ISO 14001 certificates by country, the top five comprises China, which dominates the total number of certificates at 134,926 followed by Japan (18,026), Italy (17,386), Spain (12,871) and the United Kingdom with a respectful, 11,420 certificates.

Further insight can be taken by analysing the data using Microsoft Excel and research by region, such as Europe, Australasia, Asia, The Middle East, Africa, North and Central America and South America.

Moving on to the number of certificates by Sector, we can see that Construction, Sector not known, Wholesale & retail trade, repairs of motor vehicles, motorcycles & personal & household goods, Basic metal & fabricated metal products & Electrical and optical equipment account for well over 54% of the world’s ISO 14001 certificates at 215,886 certificates.

The survey further drills down into the sectors for each country, where we can take the examples of the United Kingdom and the United States.

The United Kingdom has a large number of certificates in the “Sector Unknown” at 3,179. This is, unfortunate, as it is not possible to understand what sector they should truly be allocated to. The remaining sectors are Construction at 393 certificates, Other services at 298, Basic metal & fabricated metal products at 188 & Engineering services at 162 certificates.

It should be noted that the total number of certificates by sector for the UK only accounts for 5,369 certificates, which is approximately 53% of the total UK certificates & so the sector data may not be fully representative.

Looking at the United States has a similar proportion of certificates in the “Sector Unknown” at 970, Basic metal & fabricated metal products at 453 certificates, Other transport equipment at 260, Electrical and optical equipment at 259 & Rubber and plastic products at 259 certificates.

The brief analysis given in this article can only go so far in providing insight into the global ISO 14001:2015 accredited certification marketplace. There is much that you and others may wish to drill down into the dataset to gain further intelligence into the penetration of ISO 14001 in specific countries, regions or sectors.

If you want to make your own analysis, the ISO 2019 survey dataset can be freely downloaded from the ISO website at https://www.iso.org/the-iso-survey.html

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