ISO has launched an online survey to gather feedback that it will use to increase the value to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME's) of implementing an environmental management system based on its ISO 14001 standard. To encourage the maximum number of participants in the survey, it is available in ten languages: Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.
Lennart Piper, leader of the ISO group responsible for the survey, explained the background: "Whether a company is large or small, in today's global market-place both its business customers and consumers are increasingly concerned with its environmental performance as well as a competitive price. Investors are also scrutinizing how well companies manage risks - economic, social and environmental. This is why more and more businesses worldwide are turning to ISO 14001. Unfortunately, there is a perception that EMS are too complicated and expensive for small businesses to implement."
"We have therefore developed a short survey to give us a clearer picture of the extent to which small businesses - those with less than 100 employees - are implementing EMS and of their experience. ISO will use the results to make it easier for small businesses to implement and gain benefits from EMS."
ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden commented: "Small and medium-sized enterprises are by far the most numerous in most economies and thus vital to economic wealth and to environmental health. Therefore, it is important to facilitate their use of environmental management systems. ISO has only just published the revised, improved ISO 14001:2004, but this survey illustrates that improvement is a never-ending cycle."
The online survey takes only 5-10 minutes to complete. SME's are encouraged to take part whether they have implemented ISO 14001, or another specification. It is also open to SME's that have not implemented an EMS and seeks to establish their reasons for not doing so. More than one person from an organization may complete the survey. Consultants, auditors or registrars who have worked with small businesses are also encouraged to take part. The survey does not ask for any confidential information and respondents' identities will remain confidential. No information gathered can be tracked to a specific person or organization and no individual data will be reported.
Initially, the survey will be open to respondents until 8 March 2005 and a report on the results will be available online after 1 May 2005. All participants who completed the survey will also have access to the tabulated data and will be able to conduct their own analyses.The survey is the work of the Strategic SME Group of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 207, Environmental management, Subcommittee 1, Environmental management systems.
Links to access the survey are located on the Web sites:
of ISO (www.iso.org, ISO 900/ISO 14000 section)
and ISO/TC 207 (www.tc207.org, home page)