October 3, 2001
Brookhaven National Laboratory Achieves Registration To International Environmental Standard
UPTON, NY – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory has achieved ISO 14001 registration for the entire site, becoming the first national laboratory to obtain third-party registration to this globally recognized environmental standard.
“In a time of ever-increasing appreciation of the fragility of our environment, Brookhaven Lab has set a gold standard of operations for all large institutions,” said Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. “If we want to continue producing the great science that is the hallmark of the national laboratory system, we must all do our part to ensure we are operating at the highest level of environmental awareness.”
The International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 14001 is a globally recognized standard that defines the structure of an organization’s environmental management system for purposes of improving its environmental performance. ISO 14001 requires an organization to identify potential environmental impacts and establish controls needed to minimize impacts, to monitor and communicate environmental performance, and to establish a formal process for continually improving the system. In 1999, Brookhaven’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider project became the first Department of Energy national laboratory and Long Island-based organization to obtain third-party registration to the ISO standard. In 2000, eight additional Brookhaven facilities were registered to the standard.
In order to achieve registration, the Laboratory underwent an independent audit of its environmental management system to verify that the system conformed to all ISO requirements and that it was effectively implemented. The certification also requires Brookhaven to undergo annual audits by an accredited auditing firm to assure that the system is maintained.
In its recommendation for certification, NSF International Strategic Registrations, Ltd., an independent third-party environmental review firm from Ann Arbor, Michigan, singled out14 aspects of Brookhaven’s program as being particularly noteworthy. These included Brookhaven’s comprehensive use of computer technology to help provide environmental guidance, the thoroughness of the Laboratory’s experimental project reviews, and its systems for identifying environmental protection priorities and tracking issues.
NSF reviewers also noted that Brookhaven’s environmental management system was the most thoroughly and systematically implemented program they had encountered to date, and that this was particularly noteworthy for such a unique and complex organization. Brookhaven’s environmental management system recently received a DOE Pollution Prevention Award for “Excellence in Management,” the first organization ever to receive this award.
“People across the DOE complex and at other research institutions are looking at Brookhaven’s environmental management system as a model program,” said Laboratory Director John Marburger. “This registration demonstrates the progress we have made at Brookhaven, and an understanding that our ability to produce great science is closely tied to our dedication to environmental stewardship.”
To gain registration to the standard, an organization must comply with a set of 17 ISO 14001 requirements. These include:
• Development of an environmental policy with a commitment to compliance, pollution prevention, and continual improvement.
• Identification of environmental aspects and impacts of an operation and any legal requirements, setting goals and objectives consistent with policy and implementing programs to achieve the goals.
• Establishment of a support structure to administer environmental training, communication, documentation, operational control, and emergency preparedness.
• Implementation of checking and corrective actions that include monitoring and auditing functions, and senior management review of overall system effectiveness.
• Completion of annual audits by independent auditors to ensure continued conformance to requirements and to maintain registration.
Founded in 1946, ISO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. ISO has developed international voluntary consensus standards for manufacturing, communication, trade, and management systems. Over 100 countries have national standards bodies that are members of ISO. Major corporations that have received the ISO 14001 designation include IBM, Johnson & Johnson, and Xerox.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies. Brookhaven also builds and operates major facilities available to university, industrial, and government scientists. The Laboratory is managed by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited liability company founded by Stony Brook University and Battelle, a nonprofit applied science and technology organization.