A new ISO standard is assisting facilities to increase productivity while reducing environmental impact by helping them cut costs linked to waste and emissions and enhancing their environmental performance.
ISO 14051:2011, Environmental management – Material flow cost accounting – General framework is increasing the understanding of the environmental and financial consequences of material and energy use practices so that opportunities for improvement can be identified.
ISO 14051:2011 establishes a management information system approach called Material Flow Cost Accounting (MFCA), which can be used to trace and quantify material input and output flows and stocks within an organisation or facility. The system helps identify material and energy use practices, and the understanding of these in costs and physical terms. The information can then be applied to reduce losses and increase gains.
Professor Katsuhiko Kokubu, convenor of the working group that developed the standard states, “Many organisations are unaware of the full extent of the cost of their material losses because this data is often difficult to extract from conventional information, accounting and environmental management systems. MFCA produces such precise and clear data that it can motivate managers to enhance material productivity and significantly reduce unnecessary waste far more effectively than through conventional means.
“Not only do organisations increase profits, but they also improve their environmental performance and contribute to sustainable development,” Kokubu adds.
MFCA is applicable to all industries that use materials and energy. It can be implemented by organisations of any type and scale, with or without environmental management systems in place, in emerging economies as well as in industrialised countries. It is primarily designed for use within a single facility or organisation, however it can be extended to multiple organisations within a supply chain.
ISO 14051: 2011, Environmental management – Material flow cost accounting – General framework, is available from ISO national member institutes. It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, or through the ISO Store.