5 Ways ISO 9001 Supports Sustainability

5 Nov, 2021

It’s World Quality Week! A time to celebrate your quality achievements as well as the efforts and contributions of quality professionals.  The focus this year is ‘Sustainability: Improving Our Products, People and Planet’.  With the COP26 summit taking place, we couldn’t think of a better focus for this year.  So how exactly does ISO 9001 support sustainability?

What is Sustainability and Why is it Important?

Sustainability is basically the ability to meet our own needs, without comprising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.   Our way of life today, is not sustainable and is putting increasing pressure on the planet. Tackling climate change is essential for creating a sustainable future. 

To slow the rate of climate change, we need to make substantial changes by the end of the decade.  One of the core goals of COP26 is to secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach.

How does ISO 9001 Quality Management Support Sustainability?

When you think of sustainability and the environment, you’d be forgiven for automatically thinking of the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System.  After all, it’s aim is to reduce your environmental impact. 

However, there are lots of standards that can support sustainability and ISO 9001 is one of them, here’s how:

Sustainability Sells

A core benefit of ISO 9001 is that it supports you in meeting your customer needs, and more and more customers are wanting to engage with environmentally conscious organisations.

Quality Products are Needed

Part of becoming more sustainable is creating, repairing, reusing, and recycling better quality and longer lasting products.  This is likely to become even more important as we look to move away from a throwaway culture, a key environmental issue that can be seen in the war on single-use plastic. 

As the UN looks to tackle climate change, more regulations could come in to make it compulsory for organisations to consider the total lifecycle of their products, materials used, warranties etc. 

It Helps You Stay Ahead of the Game

As part of its revision back in 2015, ISO 9001 saw the introduction of a new clause “Context of the Organisation”.  This clause requires organisations to consider both the internal and external issues that can impact on their objectives and Quality Management System, ensuring you plan ahead for any changes. 

It Recognises the Importance of Leadership

Leadership is one of the seven quality management principles that form the basis of the standard.  Management must demonstrate their commitment to a sustainable future and ensure it is embedded into the company culture and communicated throughout the organisation. 

It Incorporates the PDCA Cycle

A key focus of ISO 9001 is continual improvement, and the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle will help you achieve this. 

The model never ends, repeating to find further improvements each time.  This is achieved by learning lessons during the ‘do’ and ‘check’ stages and taking corrective action to improve performance during the ‘act’ stage.  The cycle then starts again with the ‘plan’ stage, aiming to do better this time round.    

Three Simple Steps to Improve Sustainability in Your Organisation

  1. Assess the impact of your products, services and processes on both people and plant.
  2. Identify how quality improvements could reduce this impact.
  3. Set sustainable objectives and implement change.

Other Ideas:

  • Include sustainability on your Management Review Meeting agenda.
  • Work with your suppliers to deliver sustainable product solutions.
  • Educate your customers to consider sustainability with regard to your product/service offering, even if there is a cost implication.
  • Give guidance to your customers with regards to product and packaging recycling. 

If you’re interested in improving the sustainability of your products and services with ISO 9001, call our team on 0330 058 551 or request a quote for ISO 9001 today. 

It’s World Quality Week! A time to celebrate your quality achievements as well as the efforts and contributions of quality professionals.  The focus this year is ‘Sustainability: Improving Our Products, People and Planet’.  With the COP26 summit taking place, we couldn’t think of a better focus for this year.  So how exactly does ISO 9001 support sustainability?

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