Denver Public Works, Departments Earn ISO 14001

NSF International Strategic Registrations announced on May 12 that the city of Denver, Colo., has achieved registration to ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental management systems (EMS).

The departments that have achieved registration include the Office of the Mayor; Department of General Services, which includes theaters and arenas and the Colorado Convention Center; Department of Public Works; Department of Environmental Health; and The Denver Zoo.

"This certification is a great honor for the city and carries with it an ongoing responsibility to do our part to make and keep Denver a sustainable community," says Denver Mayor John W. Hickenlooper. "We are up to the task; managing to the ISO 14001 standards is consistent with the goals of our Greenprint Denver initiative and will help us protect our environment, improve our operations, and save money as well."

To align with the mayor's sustainability goals, the city began to strengthen its environmental program in 2004 with the registration of the Denver International Airport (DIA) to ISO 14001. After developing and implementing a citywide EMS, which provided the basic foundation for managing the city’s environmental quality activities, the city received ISO 14001 registration in 2008 for the first six departments, with an additional nine departments and cultural institutions that will be registered in 2009.

ISO 14001 is designed to continually improve environmental performance. It provides guidance on how to manage the environmental aspects of an organization's activities, products and services more efficiently, while taking into consideration environmental protection, pollution prevention, and socio-economic needs.

In order to earn ISO 14001 registration, the city had to complete several registration steps, which involved rigorous audits and reviews, including internal audits, management reviews, registration audits, and continual surveillance audits and reassessments. By achieving ISO 14001 registration for their EMS, Denver was able to:

  • Increase efficiency and use of energy and raw materials, resulting in less waste and reduced costs.
  • Effectively manage environmental risks, which can help to save money and communicate their commitment to environmental quality.
  • Create a platform from which other environmental health and safety initiatives (such as sustainability) can be developed.

"I commend the city of Denver for effectively achieving registration to this stringent international environmental standard," said John Arvay, director of Business Development for NSF-ISR. "Denver is one of the first cities in the nation to implement a citywide environmental management system, demonstrating their leadership to improving environmental quality."

Denver plans to certify additional entities in 2009, including the Office of Economic Development, Community Planning and Development, the Department of Law, Denver Public Library, Parks & Recreation, Safety, City Council, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

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