February 14, 2005

ISO survey seeks feedback from SMEs on environmental management systems

The International Standards Organization (ISO) has launched an international on-line survey to obtain feedback from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) about their experience with environmental management systems (EMS). The results of the survey will be used to enhance the value to SMEs of implementing an EMS based on the ISO 14001 standard.

In today's global marketplace, even small- to medium-size companies are subject to client scrutiny concerning their environmental and economic performance and how well they manage risks-economic, social and environmental, Lennart Piper, leader of the ISO group responsible for the survey, explained. "This is why more and more businesses worldwide are turning to ISO 14001. Unfortunately, there is a perception that EMS are too complicated and expensive for small businesses to implement.

"We have therefore developed a short survey to give us a clearer picture of the extent to which small businesses-those with less than 100 employees-are implementing EMS and of their experience. ISO will use the results to make it easier for small businesses to implement and gain benefits from EMS," Piper added.

The on-line survey (see Web addresses below) takes only five to ten minutes to complete. To encourage the maximum number of participants in the survey, it is available in ten languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Czech, Danish, Swedish and Japanese.

SMEs are encouraged to take part whether they have implemented ISO 14001 or another standard, or even if they have not implemented an EMS; in this case, the survey wants to determine their reasons for not doing so. More than one person from an organization may complete the survey. Consultants, auditors or registrars who have worked with small businesses are also encouraged to take part. Respondents' identities will remain confidential and no individual data will be reported.

The survey will be open to respondents until March 8, 2005 and a report on the results will be available on-line after May 1, 2005. Survey participants will also have access to the tabulated data and will be able to conduct their own analyses.

The survey may be accessed through the Web sites of ISO (www.iso.org, ISO 14000 section) and ISO/TC 207 (www.tc207.org, home page)

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