Pros and cons for combining ISO 14001 Certification

J

Jersey Jane

#1
A company with multiple divisions that are all currently certified under ISO 14001 is considering combining under one certification. I am aware that Registars will do this, but what would be the pros and cons? Any thoughts on this matter would be appreciated.
 
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Sidney Vianna

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#2
The primary risk, by having a single certificate is the fact that, if a single plant fails to correct major issues, the whole certificate could get revoked, affecting all the divisions.

If the organization’s EMS satisfy the requirements laid down by the IAF Guidance to Guide 66*, a multi-site, sampling approach could be used for certification, potentially saving the organization significant amounts in assessment fees.

*G.5.3.13. Where an organization has a number of sites with similar activities covered by a single EMS, a certificate may be issued to the organization to cover all such sites provided that:
(a) all sites are operating under the same EMS, which is centrally administered and audited and subject to central management review, and
(b) all sites have been audited in accordance with the internal audit procedure(s), and
(c) a representative sample of sites have been audited by the certification/registration body, taking into account the factors below
the results and reports of internal site and central EMS audits
the results of management review
maturity of the management system
any existing knowledge of the organization
variations in the size of the sites
complexity of the EMS
complexity of the sites
any shift working
variations in working practices
repetitiveness of functions
variations in activities undertaken
the spread of the organization’s personnel over the sites
the significance and extent of the aspects and associated impacts
potential interaction with sensitive environment
differing legal requirements
the views of interested parties, and
(d) the sample should be partly selective, based on c), above and partly non-selective and should result in a range of different sites being selected, without excluding the random element of site selection, and
(e) the surveillance programme should include visits to the organization’s head office, be designed in the light of the above factors and should, within a reasonable time, cover all the sites of the organization in accordance with the certification/registration body’s sampling method, and
(f) in the case of a nonconformity being observed either at the head office, or at a single site, of an organization with an EMS certificate/registration covering multiple sites, the corrective action procedure should apply to all applicable sites covered by the certificate/registration
A dedicated team of external assessors could also provide “comparison feedback” about different sites EMS performance, allowing corporate EMS folks to identify additional opportunities for improvement.
 
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M

morgand - 2006

#3
Sidney Vianna said:
The primary risk, by having a single certificate is the fact that, if a single plant fails to correct major issues, the whole certificate could get revoked, affecting all the divisions.
An additional item to consider, and this is an issue in my company though it might not be for you, how would reoganization of the company structure affect the certification?

For example, we have a 4 level structure. Level 2 is where processes for Level 2, 3 and 4 are generated and maintained. It is very common for us peons in level 3 and 4 to get suffled back and forth under different Level 2 organizations every other year. They had considered doing a group cert on a contract run from one of the lower levels. Last year, 3 of the sites went to one part of the company with both ISO and CMMI processes in place while 2 went to another that had no ISO structure, only CMMI support.
 
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RoxaneB

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#4
One of the potential pros is the reduction of external audits...please correct me, Sidney, if I'm wrong. I thought a common cert shared amongst multiple divisions meant that - unless dictated otherwise by the Client - not all plants were required to undergo an external audit every year.

This does not, however, allow you to bypass the internal audit process.
 
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Sidney Vianna

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#5
RCBeyette said:
One of the potential pros is the reduction of external audits...please correct me, Sydney, if I'm wrong. I thought a common cert shared amongst multiple divisions meant that - unless dictated otherwise by the Client - not all plants were required to undergo an external audit every year.

This does not, however, allow you to bypass the internal audit process.
You are correct. Provided certain conditions are met, a sampling process of the sites to be audited, can be used.
 
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