Environmental management: A key to a reduced climate footprint and a competitive business strategy

10. December 2021

Environmental management: A key to a reduced climate footprint and a competitive business strategy

The Danish company Nowocoat has integrated ISO 14001 into their core business because it paves the way for responsible and economic growth.

Nowocoat is a family-owned company based in Kolding, Denmark, which can be traced back as far as 1861. The company’s production of paint and varnish for workmen, industrial producers and builders' merchant companies in Denmark and abroad is based on their certification to the ISO 14001 standard for environmental management.

- We have been working with environmental management since the late 80s, so it is a natural part of our management system. We are an international company, and ISO 14001 makes sense no matter which language or culture we are dealing with. When we say that our activities are based on ISO 14001 we gain respect, no matter if we are doing business with China or Sweden, says CEO Ole Enevold Jensen.

The environmental management standard provides a number of concrete instructions for identifying how the company’s products and production impact on the environment. Moreover, the standard deals with a wide range of issues, such as waste management, use of harmful products, electricity consumption and transport.

- The environmental management standard is a tool that guides your company or organization in the right direction on environmental issues. It provides your company with a number of tools for making decisions on an informed basis, so that more efforts can be focused on reducing the environmental impact. If companies follow the standard they will achieve their objectives, says Kasper Hillgaard Mühlbach, chief consultant at Danish Standards.

Environmental management is worth the effort

Nowocoat was certified to ISO 14001 in 2015, and it took more than a year to incorporate the new routines, processes and operations, but it was worth the effort.

- Environmental management ensures that we live up to our environmental responsibility towards our communities, customers, employees and suppliers. At the same time, the standard guarantees responsible and economic growth in the long run, says Ole Enevold Jensen.

The certification also allows Nowocoat to be up to date when it come to legislation and environmental trends.

- ISO 14001 is a very dynamic tool. This is important because environmental legislation is changing all the time. The legislation can be quite complicated as it relates to employees, products, production as well the local community, says the CEO.

At Danish Standards, Kasper Hillgaard Mühlbach confirms.

- We see that complexity in environmental legislation is increasing, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to keep up to date with the latest developments. The standard is also a good tool for introducing processes that facilitate this task, he says.

Customers expect environmental certification

At Nowocoat, environmental management has been divided into four areas: The factory, including employees, safety, energy and water consumption, products to be incorporated into other manufacturers’ products, products that have a function, e.g. a roof paint that absorbs less sunlight, and finally, advice to other companies.

- We no longer need to consult the manual because we follow the standard. But we are always keeping an eye on our processes and operations to make sure that they are up to date, says Ole Enevold Jensen.

Nowocoat’s customers expect Nowocoat to be certified to ISO 14001 or another measurable tool.

- We have acquired five companies over the last few years, and our purchases were based on the condition that the companies had an environmental certification, he points out.

According to Kasper Hillgaard Mühlbach, the standard is important for companies that want to introduce a culture where there is a concern for the environment.

- This is a blueprint of a company’s environmental effort. Getting certified is also a way of branding one’s company, because the certification shows the world that efforts are made to reduce the company’s environmental impact and that data are valid, he says.

ISO 14001 is good for the bottom line

Ole Enevold Jensen is also convinced that Nowocoat’s bottom line has benefitted from the company’s environmental management effort.

- I like that we record everything, such as incidents that might lead to an accident. That forces employees to reflect on what happened and allows us to make sure that action has been taken. I am sure that, at the end of the day, environmental management makes financial sense because we avoid making the same errors over and over again, he says.

One of the benefits of working with environmental management is that Nowocoat has not experienced effluent discharges that required governmental involvement.

Kasper Hillgaard Mühlbach recommends that companies that wish to introduce environmental management not only focus on their potential financial gains, but also reflect on customers’ and collaboration partners’ expectations over the next five years.

- Companies need to look at what they can do to be more attractive to customers, partners and future employees, and here the environment plays an important role. Developing greener products will allow your company to gain competitive advantages and a better position in your markets. It will also improve your company’s abilities to attract tomorrow's skills because this is concrete evidence that environmental considerations are being taken into account, Kasper Hillgaard Mühlbach points out, and he adds:

- Many people talk about the green transition, and with ISO 14001 you get a tool that allows you to actually carry out your environmental strategy. This standard offers a systematic approach that allows the company to continually mature its management approach.


An environmental management standard provides companies and organisations with a good and efficient tool that allows them to reduce significant environmental impacts and to improve the credibility of their environmental performance. The standard also yields financial benefit and can be used to document the company’s environmental performance to the outside world.

In addition to ISO 14001, which is the standard that defines the requirements in environmental management and which can form the basis for certification, Danish Standards offers several standards that can help companies introduce and improve environmental management, including ISO 14004, which provides guidance on how to introduce environmental management into an company.

Companies may choose whether to simply follow the requirements of ISO 14001 or to be certified.

Read more here



Kasper Hillgaard Mühlbach
Kasper Hillgaard Mühlbach Chefkonsulent | Chief Consultant
Standardisering | Digital & Bæredygtighed
E: kahm@ds.dk
T: 39 96 62 41

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