Conservatively, there are 143 million legally constituted business in the world according to a database hosted by the IFC. There are roughly 1 million certificates in existence for ISO 14001:2004. However certificates do not equal the number of companies involved; that is a lower number. Some companies have literally hundreds of certificate, some only one. One study in Canada in the early years of the new Millennium indicated a ratio across all sectors of about 25:1, which might mean that about 250,000 companies are involved worldwide. The gap represents the opportunity. Even if the real market for EnviroReady was only 10%, that means there are more than 14 million entities in need.
It could be much more than that.
Why? Expectations that an organization will manage its relationship with the environment regardless of its size, culture, sector, orientation, economic status or geography is growing. The expectation for better business is materializing through:
- preferential treatment of vendors in the private and public sector
- environmental reporting guidance outlined by the securities commission
- guidance on governance for boards of directors and advisory boards
- demand from customers, clients, consumers, taxpayers and the voting public
- and don't forget, regulatory measures when initiative is lacking
The Report was originally conceived to help Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SMEs) add to their credibility with customers, investors, bankers, insurers and other interested parties. It was designed to support organizations that take responsibility for their business and want an external review to show accountability at a price point they could afford. For them the price of certification for them was a barrier to adoption.
Read more from the small business perspective
Big Business Benefits
There is interest from larger organizations in the EnviroReadyReport. While many will continue to use third-party registration for their higher risk or core operations, the EnviroReadyReport offers a cost effective means of providing an umbrella of accountability. It allows larger organizations to demonstrate their accountability to shareholders and stakeholders for their operations. Clear evidence of financial and environmental integrity is a primary concern for these organizations.
Additionally, larger companies have indicated a willingness to accept the EnviroReadyReport from their lower risk or smaller suppliers as confirmation of a robust and credible EMS.
Big or small, for profit or not-for profit
Don't underestimate the value of using ISO 14001 as the basis of an environmental management system. Like it or not your clients will be measured against it, and judged accordingly. Whether or not they have an environmental management system, ISO 14001 is the benchmark. It is the de facto standard used by the business community, policy makers and shakers and the courts.