ISO 14001: Understanding the environmental approach in the business of used copiers

ISO 14001: what is it for ?

You are acting in any commercial or industrial sector ; you might wonder how useful a ISO 14001 certification is. It is above all a commitment to environment : We aim at working in a more ethical way ; we limit the use of new resources and we fight against machine obsolescence. Of course, you can work without being certified. But, the real risk is to impact environment dramatically. This certification acts for the protection of environment.

The ISO 14001 approach

According to the official ISO website, the ISO 14001 standard aims at responding to consumers’ environmental concerns. It was created by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO 14001 is one of the existing organizational standards.

Firstly, it provides a framework for any company to set up an environmental management system, thanks to requirements for implementation. Secondly, this framework allows the company to measure its environmental performance and to control its impacts on the environment. In other words, the company undertakes to demonstrate its compliance with the Iso standard. How  ? by developing  monitoring tools !

What are the requirements?

Any company will start with an environmental analysis of all its activities :  the company will be able to measure all impacts on environment. In order to lower them, these impacts help  identify an action plan and set up an environmental policy. The action plan must be written, implemented and monitored, using key indicators. This environmental policy is the proof that the company management is engaged to environment protection. In case of failure or difficulties in reaching the objectives, non-conformities are identified in the  ISO management system. They will be followed by corrective actions. All these tools act for a continuous and living improvement of the system. The entire management system must be subject to at least one annual internal control : the  management review. In addition,  regular internal audits will help improve the system in preparation for the official certification audit by an accredited body.

Why being ISO 14001 certified is important for a used copiers broker ?

By implementing an ISO14001 approach, a wholesaler demonstrates his engagement to control and reduce his environmental impact when he deals with used copiers. He involves his entire team in the sensitive business of items, classified as electrical and electronic equipments. In other words, he imposes an environmental approach . Certification will reassure employees, partners, customers and suppliers, who are sensitive to a commitment to environment.  Moreover, this approach also allows him to better manage his expenses and thus improve his competitiveness. As all ISO standards are international, all copiers brokers in the world may apply it in order to improve its organisation . Do not hesitate to read our article about where the best brokers are located, for more information.

A concrete example of a certified company

As an example, take a French broker, pioneer in used copiers for almost 30 years : MATMOND. His ISO 14001 certification dates back to 2010. Certification has been mainly required by manufacturers and by European distributors with whom he deals regularly. It is also interesting for global customers whose main concern is the price of used copiers, because they are also interested in quality. The environmental management system makes it possible to set up specific procedures and monitorings, such as :

 

  • At their arrival, used copiers are systematicly tested – in case of a breakdown, if photocopiers have a low number of copies and a good overall aspect, they are repaired.
  • Out of order copiers are automatically classified as WEEE (electrical and electronic waste). His approved WEEE area allows their collect. Finally, they join an authorized recycling network.
  • Their expert technicians extract spare parts from broken photocopiers, in order to repair or re-equip other photocopiers. This promotes re-use to the maximum.
  • Shipments require protecting copiers screens and bodywork. Materials used for protection are subject to special attention. The goal is to avoid using materials with a high environmental impact. Polystyrene, polyurethane foams or plastic films are all harmful to the oceans and nature in general. They are made from unsustainable natural resources. Materials with lower impact, such as wood or cardboard, will be favored.
  • and finally, energy consumption is closely monitored…

 

In conclusion, external support is necessary to start the certification process. Then, once your staff is trained, you will be able to define your strategy and put your working groups in place. At  the end, the management system becomes an essential driver for environmental protection.

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