Sunday, September 16, 2007

ISO 14001 - on the menu in Asia

I was somewhat surprised to find out that International Organization for Standardization (ISO) does not officially track the number of certifications to its 14001 environmental management standard. All these years I have been jealous of ISO assuming that they can track certifications with ease due to the compliance oriented nature of their standard. We are have always struggled to track the users of the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines because they are a flexible framework - certifications are not required, nor are companies required to inform GRI (or anyone else) when they have issued a report based on the Guidelines.

Anyway, I stumbled across some data from the German Environment Agency (UBA) while surfing the web this evening that seems to be the closest thing we have to a tally of total certifications. They tracked just over 129,000 certifications worldwide by the start of 2007 - they claim this figure represents a rise of about 25% from the previous year. I took that as a good sign that ISO 14000 is still growing that strongly.

Organizations in Asian countries account for over 45% of certifications globally - with Japan and China in the number 1 and 2 spots respectively (approximately 20,000 certifications each), and South Korea, India, Taiwan, and Thailand all in the top 20.

The ususal suspects from western Europe can be found in the top 20 as well - Spain (11,000 certifications - good for #3 spot), Italy, Germany, UK, Sweden, France, and Switzerland. But possibly more interesting is the appearance of some new CEE nations rounding out the bottom of the table - Romania, Czech Republic, and Hungary make the top 20 for the first time with a combined certification total of nearly 5000.

The USA is 5th on the list with 8000 certifications, and Canada is 11th with nearly 2600. No African companies made the top 20, but the survey shows that South Africa has over 400 certifications to-date.

I wonder if reporting rates will or do follow ISO certification rates. Has anybody out there seen any correlation?

4 comments:

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