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If your organization is pursuing, or considering the pursuit of ISO 55000 certification, which I would certainly applaud, you need to read on to understand the important role of ISO 14000, and, in particular, the ISO 14000 series standards that address environmental life-cycle assessment (LCA). This is especially true if your organization’s environmental-management systems are ISO 14000-certified. Please note that this article isn’t intended to scare you, but rather serve as a wake-up call regarding the interrelationship between ISO 55000 and 14000.

In my column for the August 31, 2020, issue of The RAM Review’s ‘Dispatches from the Plant’ newsletter, I addressed the undeniable fact that large investment management firms are increasingly factoring environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance in their investment decisions. This trend is driven by investors’ collective preference for sustainable organizations. In that column, I referenced some of the ESG-performance-rating companies to which the large institutional investors look to determine ESG performance. Those types of rating companies look at multiple factors when assessing a firm’s ESG performance.  Certification to various ISO standards, such as ISO 14000, is among them, given the fact ISO certification is auditable.

Click Here To Read The Referenced Aug. 31, 2020, Newsletter Column
“The Market Says Get Sustainable or Get Out”

ISO 55000, the standard for asset management, provides a framework to addresses asset costs, risks, and performance across the four stages of the asset life cycle: 1) create and acquire; 2) utilize; 3) maintain; and 4) dispose/reuse. But before that, we must introduce you to the ISO 14000 family of standards for environmental management that are closely related to ISO 55000. If your organization is ISO 14000-certified, understanding this relationship is important irrespective of the organization’s intents related to ISO 55000 certification (more on that later).

Within the ISO 14000 family of standards, there are two that specifically address the environmental impacts of products and processes over their life cycles. Those two standards are:

♦   ISO 14040 – 2006 – Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Principles and framework

♦   ISO 14044 – 2006 – Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Requirements and guidelines.

Environmental life-cycle assessment (LCA) includes two major components: 1) life-cycle-inventory analysis; and 2) life- cycle-impact analysis. The inventory analysis requires creation of an inventory of the flows of material, energy, water, etc., from all the various processes needed to produce a unit of converted product. This includes the extraction and transport of input materials; the conversion of those materials into value-added production; transport of the finished product; and ultimately, where applicable, the disposal, recycling, and/or reuse of the materials at the end of the product’s life. The life-cycle impact analysis is derived from the inventory analysis to assess important associated environmental effects, including climate change, human health, and biodiversity, among others

The term “life cycle” obviously connects the ISO 55000 and ISO 14000 standards. As industrial asset-management professionals, we typically consider the conventional life-cycle costs, risks, and asset performance in our life-cycle analysis and management of plant equipment. We focus on production uptime, production efficiency, maintenance costs, and the like, in the development of our asset-management plans. It’s hoped that your asset-management plans incorporate safety elements as well (ISO 45000/OHSAS 18001; ISO 22000, etc.).

If your organization is ISO 14000-certified, the very existence of ISO 55000 could place that certification at risk if you fail to consider environmental life-cycle impacts. As someone involved in the ownership and operation of industrial assets, you should be (or it’s reasonable to expect that you are) familiar with the framework for the life-cycle management of those assets that is specified in ISO 55000. Because managing “risks” is explicitly defined as one of the elements of the ISO 55000 life-cycle management system, a failure to analyze environmental risks associated with your product and/or production processes may disqualify you from ISO 14000 certification. A loss of or failure to achieve ISO 14000 certification would surely have a negative impact on your organization’s ESG score, which could result in your exclusion or removal from the portfolios of some industrial investors.

As I stated in the opening paragraph above, this article is not intended to scare the reader or suggest that it’s time to panic. Rather, I’m encouraging you to diligently correlate and integrate environmental-life-cycle assessment per the ISO standards into your life-cycle asset analysis and management systems. Your environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance score may well depend upon it. While you’re at it, you may, wisely, also want to consider the role of ISO 26000, the standard addressing social responsibility, as well as your organization’s ISO 9000 quality-management certification and ISO/IEC 27000-information-security certification, both of which have significant social responsibility elements.TRR

Drew Troyer has 30 years of experience in the RAM arena. Currently a Principal with T.A. Cook Consultants, he was a Co-founder and former CEO of Noria Corporation. A trusted advisor to a global blue chip client base, this industry veteran has authored or co-authored more than 250 books, chapters, course books, articles, and technical papers and is popular keynote and technical speaker at conferences around the world. Drew is a Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE), Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional (CMRP), holds B.S. and M.B.A. degrees, and is Master’s degree candidate in Environmental Sustainability at Harvard University. Contact him directly at 512-800-6031 or

Tags: reliability, availability, maintenance, RAM, environmental sustainability, sustainable manufacturing, energy efficiency, safety, climate change, sustainable investment, ESG sustainability performance, ISO 55000, ISO 14000,  ISO certification