ISO 14000 - Several Legal Aspects
Jerusalem Convention Center
The lecture was given by advocate Tzvi Levinson during the 12th International Conference of the Israel Society for Quality. Concerned Legislatures all over the world have produced a plethora of legal instruments to deal with the wide variety of environmental issues. These measures, born of the "Command and Control" school, took such forms as mandating the use of certain technologies or certain kinds of fuel, or the setting of Performance Standards (e.g. Emission Standards). The continuing deterioration of the state of the environment coupled with the rising of new environmental concerns, while these efforts at remediation and improvement were only too slowly budding into effect, have led to frustration with old methods and to a search for new ones. Thus began the reign of the economically-based instruments, sensitive to both cost and the result it serves to bring about. These were thought to promote efficiency in the use of resources, reduce pollution at the source and encourage the development of new, cheap "clean-up" methods. Widely spread examples of this approach are: pollution taxes, eco-labels and commerce in pollution rights. The ISO 14000 developed as an instrument of advancing compliance with environmental standards. The aim of ISO14000 (a.k.a - ISO) is to integrate environmental aspects into the decision-making processes of an organization; to reform the way an organization defines its surroundings (physical, legal, social, ... ) and those features in it it needs to take into account when appraising the pros and cons of conducting its affairs in a certain way. In short, to make the environment matter. State Authorities have a strong interest in the implementation of ISO for it may lighten the burden of their duty to monitor compliance with environmental standards as well as reduce the cost of monitoring. In his talk attorney Levinson gave some examples showing how the State can encourage organizations to take up the complex duties imposed by ISO (A word of caution: State interference in, and regulation of such matters may pose non-tariff barriers to international trade): Compulsory environmental audits may be structured after ISO guide-lines, so that an organization that implemented ISO may be exempt from holding yet another audit. Implementation of ISO may be accepted in place of certain permits and certification requirements. Organizations implementing ISO may be favored in State tenders. State may help finance the (considerable) costs of implementing ISO either directly, by offering loans, tax benefits or lines of credit, or indirectly, by causing the reduction of insurance premiums.