International green certification option catching on in Canada

As the need for green buildings continues to grow in the country, so too are the systems required to evaluate and certify them.

While most building owners and managers are choosing one or both of Canada’s top systems for minimizing harm to the planet – the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System and the BOMA Go Green Environmental Certification program – an international standard focusing on systems controls is also starting to appear.

ISO 14001, the most recognized environmental management system in the world, is a series of generic standards that can be applied to any organization regardless of size or service. The standards create a framework for environmental management, measurement, evaluation and auditing.

There are many benefits to the ISO 14001 standard, namely, with easily comparable figures between companies from different countries, the international standard “may help to prevent environmental requirements from becoming trade barriers,” according to the Canadian General Standards Board. It does not, however, guarantee good environmental performance or replace legislative or business requirements.

The system is also comprehensive, encouraging all members of the organization to participate in environmental protection.

Businesses of all stripes seem to be working towards the new standard.

This month, Bell became the first telecommunications company in Canada to obtain ISO 14001 certification.

“Bell's ISO 14001 certification proves we are committed to meeting our customers’ expectations, and is a business differentiator positioning us as the industry leader,” said Stephane Boisvert, president of Bell Enterprise Group.

In April, Staples Advantage Canada also earned the certification.

“We expedited the ISO 14001 audit and registration process to be better in line with our customers’ needs and wants,” said Susan D’Souza, national environmental and sustainability manager at Staples.

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