Ascending the learning curve

Environment manager Deborah Southwell tells Paul Suff how Birmingham City University made the transition to the revised 14001 standard

Securing ISO 14001: 2015 certification just a few months after starting a new job was the challenge facing IEMA member Deborah Southwell. She joined Birmingham City University in September 2016 and, just four months later, auditors from certification body NQA completed their review of the institution’s environmental management system.

Southwell admits that it felt like a tall order, but says the process helped her to assimilate the environmental sustainability issues facing the institution, identify where improvements could be made and to engage university colleagues. ‘Coming in to deliver the transition to the latest version of 14001 in such a short timeframe was a big challenge, but it was also a real opportunity to look at what we were doing and ask: is it working? Are we securing continuous improvements? What do we need to change?’

Working together

Organisations have until September 2018 to transition to 14001: 2015, the revised international standard for environmental management systems. Many have already done so. An effective gap analysis, plotting the differences between the old (2004) and new versions, can ease the change. This was the starting point for Birmingham City University.

Environment practitioners in UK universities tend to share best practice and many are members of the EAUC, the Environmental Association ...

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