When Fors Marsh Group (FMG) was first certified as a B Corporation in 2017, we pledged to commit to a higher standard of overall social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. And when we recertified in 2021, we proved our dedication to that pledge by scoring a 99.7 on our B Impact Assessment, an impressive jump from our inaugural result of 84.5.
One of the ways we keep ourselves on track is through International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification. What is ISO certification? In broad strokes, it’s a sort of merit badge developed by the International Organization for Standardization that covers International Standards for nearly all aspects of technology and manufacturing. The ISO describes ISO certification as “an agreed way of doing something or a solution to a global problem.”
Consider credit cards, paper sizes, and even personal protective equipment (PPE) used by first responders—these are all products for which ISO has set standards. So how does ISO certification relate to FMG? We’ll take you #BehindTheB to find out.
Why We Certify
To properly understand why we certify, it’s helpful to understand which ISO standards certifications FMG seeks: the ISO 14001 and the ISO 9001.
A few logical questions to ask: What’s the difference? Why go for both certifications?
Well, they’re both management certifications. But ISO 14001 gauges environmental management, while ISO 9001 focuses on quality management. (Glad we cleared that up? We’ll explain it in a bit more detail further down.)
We believe in the importance of ISO certification because these standards help us minimize waste, work more efficiently, offer a safe working environment, and measure our energy output to keep us on track to reach our net-zero goal by 2030.
ISO 14000 Family: Environmental Management Systems
As a Climate Neutral Certified organization, the goals of ISO 14001 are especially aligned with our B Corp values. ISO 14001 outlines the specifics for enhancing our environmental performance as we continue our mission to contribute to being an environmental pillar of sustainability.
The ISO 14000 family was created to help organizations minimize negative operational impact on the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is one of many agencies to have had input into the framework of standards.
To achieve the ISO 14001 standard, an organization must demonstrate:
- Enhancement of environmental performance
- Fulfillment of compliance obligations
- Achievement of environmental objectives
The certification process also noted FMG’s dedicated senior management, B Corp status, and willingness to invest extra resources to support environmentally friendly objectives, including becoming Climate Neutral Certified in 2021.
ISO 9000 Family: Quality Management
The ISO 9000 family is the world’s best-known quality management standard for companies and organizations of any size.
The ISO 9000 category of quality management standards are the most recognized worldwide. ISO 9001, in particular, aims to guide organizations to make continuous process improvements and to be a customer-centric organization.
During the certification process, all aspects of a company’s operations—from its organizational charts to the recycling bin’s placement—are reviewed and noted. We’re proud to report that from top to bottom, our report found us to be in good standing, stating “The work environment of the organization is organized, well lit, climate-controlled and typical of an office workplace. There were no concerns noted at this time, and first aid kits, emergency exits, and recycling programs were in place. During management review meetings, discussions in regard to the Total Organizational Health Surveys (TOHS) and burnout are conducted as well.”
Learn More About ISO and Becoming a B
At FMG, we believe we can make more possible, and it all begins by being the change we want to see. By voluntarily meeting the high standards for ISO certifications, we’re signaling to our partners and communities that we promote global collaboration and compatibility. We’re improving efficiencies, reducing waste, and being stewards of the environment. As an ISO-certified organization and a B Corp, we lead by example so that other companies will join the movement.
Visit ISO’s website to learn more about ISO certification and how the International Standards are developed. Interested in joining the B Corp community? Discover what’s #BehindTheB and how your organization can start the assessment process to get on your way to becoming a B!