Climate change and environmental initiatives are more closely linked than ever. Environmental management standard such as ISO 14001 can be a key factor in companies reducing their environmental footprints and increasing their contributions to meeting the targets agreed upon at COP26.
Nowocoat is based on Stålvej 3 in Kolding
Nowocoat is a family-owned business that can trace its roots back to 1861 which makes paints and varnishes for craftsmen, industrial production and the construction sector both in Denmark and abroad, and the products are made under the ISO 14001 environmental management standard and the certification that has been gained.
“We have worked with environmental management since the end of the 1980s, so it is anatural part of our management system. We are an international company, and ISO 14001 makes sense no matter what language or culture we are dealing with. When you can show your ISO 14001 credentials, you are respected, whether you are dealing with China or Sweden,” says CEO Ole Enevold Jensen.
The standards for environmental management provide a number of specific instructions for mapping how the company’s products and production processes impact the environment. The standard also deals with a large number of other issues such as waste management, the use of harmful substances, electricity consumption and transport.
“The environmental management standards are a tool that can be used to lead your company or organisation in the right direction when it comes to environmental issues. The company gets different tools to make a number of decisions on an informed basis, meaning one can work with reducing the environmental impact in a more targeted manner. By following the standard, you ensure that you reach your targets,” says Kasper Hillgaard Mühlbach, Chief Consultant at Dansk Standard.
Up to date with legislation
Nowocoat achieved the ISO 14001 certification in 2015, and it took more than a year to get the new routines, process and workflows integrated, but it has been worth the effort.
Environmental management ensures that we are acting in an environmentally responsible manner in relation to our local communities, customers, employees and suppliers. At the same time, the standard ensures that we will grow in a responsible manner in the long run.
Ole Enevold Jensen, CEO, Nowocoat
The certification also provides Nowocoat with a benchmark in relation to legislation and environmental trends.
“ISO 14001 is a very dynamic tool, since legislation is constantly changing. Legislation can be quite complicated, since it deals with both employees, products, production and the local community,” the CEO says.
Kasper Hillgaard Mühlbach from Dansk Standard echoes this sentiment.
“We are seeing the complexity of environmental legislation increasing, and it is becoming harder and harder for companies to stay up to date with the latest legislation. Here too the standard is a good tool for implementing processes that make this task easier,” he says.
Customers are demanding environmental management
At Nowocoat, environmental management is divided into four areas: The factory, including the employees, safety, energy and water consumption, products that are to be part of products manufactured by another producer, products that have a function, such as roof paint that absorbs less sunlight and, finally, advisory services to other companies.
“We no longer have to look things up in the manual, because what we do is according to the standard, but we are always considering whether we need to adjust our processes and workflows,” says Ole Enevold Jensen.
In his experience, Nowocoat’s customers expect the company to have an environmental management certification or some other measurable tool.
“We have acquired five companies in recent years, and the prerequisite for our acquisition was that they had to have an environmental certification,” he emphasises.
According to Kasper Hillgaard Mühlbach, the standard is important when a company wants to introduce a culture that cares about the environment.
"It serves as a stamp of approval for companies’ environmental work, and there is a branding value from being certified, as it shows the world that you are working in a targeted manner to reduce your environmental impact and that the data is valid."
Kasper Hillgaard Mühlbach, cheif consultant at Dansk Standard
Ole Enevold Jensen is also certain that the environmental management can be seen on Nowocoat’s bottom line.
“I like that we need to register everything such as events that could lead up to an accident. It forces employees to think things through, and we can then ensure that it is followed up on. When you do that, I am sure that environmental management pays off, since we avoid making the same mistakes over and over again,” he says.
The work with environmental management has meant that the company has had no wastewater emissions requiring the involvement of the authorities.
More competitive advantages
Kasper Hillgaard Mühlbach recommends that companies who want to introduce environmental management not only map which financial gains can be achieved but also look at what expectations customers and business partners have and will start to have in the next five years.
“Companies need to look at what they can do to become more attractive to their customers, business partners and future employees, and here the environment plays an important role. If you develop green products, this provides more market-related competitive advantages and it becomes easier to attract future talent to your company, since you have firm proof that you care about the environment,” Kasper Hillgaard Mühlbach points out.
“A lot of people are talking about the green transition, and with an ISO 14001 certification, you get a tool that you can actually use to implement your strategy in this area. It is a systematic method that allows the company to constantly mature its managerial approach.”
With an environmental management standard, companies and organisations get a good and effective tool that can both reduce the most significant environmental impacts and make the environmental initiatives more credible. The standard also provides a financial payoff and can be used to document your environmental initiatives to the outside world.
Besides ISO 14001, which is the standard that defines the requirements for environmental management and can form the basis for a certification, Dansk Standard also works with other standards that can help companies with the implementation and improvement of things such as ISO 14004, which is a guide for how to implement environmental management in a company.
The companies can decide for themselves whether they just want to comply with the requirements of ISO 14001 or if they want to get certified under this standard.