Don’t underestimate certification

Don’t underestimate certification

Marna Fox, PwC assistant manager, outlines how SHEQ certification contributes to your company’s sustainability.

International standards contribute positively to economic prosperity, growth and responsibility, while a modern organisation’s goals are to add value to its stakeholders, minimise its negative impacts on the environment and society at large while generating returns for its shareholders. Therefore, successful and profitable organisations constantly look for ways to manage costs and risks, and explore opportunities. This might seem simple, but is not always easily attained, and sustainability of the business can be jeopardised.

In an effort to be sustainable, important aspects of safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) may sometimes be neglected, thereby placing the company under potential financial, legal and reputational risks. If any lesson has been learnt from the global financial meltdown, it’s the importance of risk management.

Organisations need to continuously improve corporate governance, be aware of changes to regulatory requirements, respond to ever-increasing demands of customers and defend the increased competition in the market. Top management is forced to consider and manage a broader spectrum of risks, especially their environmental, occupational health and safety risks, in a consistent manner. Top management plays an important role in planning and improving the “core business” systems. Unfortunately, some aren’t always aware of the role SHEQ plays in the success, or otherwise, of their business.

In order to manage critical matters, organisations need to implement a variety of effective systems – from quality, to environmental to occupational health and safety. Furthermore, the organisation must ensure its management systems conform to all the latest applicable standard requirements. The ISO and OHSAS suite of standards will achieve this goal. However, by adopting and implementing international management systems, some other challenges might arise. These can include a lack of understanding or capacity to address all the significant aspects of SHEQ, a lack of general awareness of legislation, and the lack of understanding of the potential cost implications in not managing SHEQ aspects effectively. These challenges might have an impact on business risks.

Many organisations’ management systems have outgrown the audit/certification process or have lost their ability to drive improvement and change. In such cases, organisations have identified the need to move their management systems to the next level or re-energise existing management systems and certification processes. Furthermore, the focus from the audit committee on the organisation’s entire risk universe, and the development of combined assurance models, only increases the importance of the robustness of a company’s management system and the value of a certification process that focuses on material risk management in the context of major business drivers.

A successful and sustainable business is not only about making a profit – it also integrates significant emphasis on human resource management, health and safety assurance, the mitigation of potential impacts on the environment from the manufacturing process, final products and services, while ensuring that quality standards of products and services are still competitive. By striving towards improved management and performance, the organisation is driven by increasingly concerned customers and more-informed stakeholders. SHEQ management system certification demonstrates your commitment to managing risk, continual improvement and improving client satisfaction, as well as helping to ensure your organisation has implemented an internationally recognised approach to managing your business activities.

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