What is ISO 14001 & Environmental Management System?

ISO 14001:2004

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies (ISO member bodies). Organizations of all kinds are increasingly concerned with achieving and demonstrating sound environmental performance by controlling the impacts of their activities, products and services on the environment, consistent with their environmental objectives and targets. Implementing programs using ISO guidelines help organizations recognize areas for improvement which in turn fosters a proactive approach regarding environmental activities and impacts.

Currently, there are over 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States. After many months of hard work, Missouri S&T received its ISO 14001 certification on June 29, 2001. Missouri S&T was the first and continues to the be only higher education institution in the nation to be ISO 14001:2004 certified. By utilizing the guidelines in the ISO 14001:2004 Standard, Missouri S&T can effectively monitor it's daily operations to ensure protection of the environment.


An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a mechanism for managing the environmental impacts of an organization's activities. The implementation of an EMS is essentially a voluntary initiative. An EMS provides a structured approach to the planning and implementation of environment protection procedures using the guidelines set forth under the ISO  14001:2004 Standard. The EMS incorporates a management system into daily operations that include long term planning and other quality management systems.

An EMS can be a powerful tool for organizations to both improve their environmental performance and enhance their business efficiency. An EMS is not prescriptive, rather it requires organizations to take an active role in examining their practices, and then determine how their impacts should best be managed. This approach encourages creative and relevant solutions from within the organization itself. 

Likewise, organizations can use an EMS program to ensure their performances are within regulatory requirements. Also, it keeps organizations prepared for more stringent regulations which might be introduced in the future.

An EMS program assists Missouri S&T in the following way:

  • minimizes environmental liabilities
  • maximizes the efficient use of resources
  • reduces waste
  • demonstrates a good public image locally and around the globe
  • builds awareness of environmental concern among employees
  • gains a better understanding of the environmental impacts of business activities
  • increases profit, improving environmental performance through more efficient operation.