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Provincie Antwerpen: Putting the environment on a region's daily agenda

Certification to environmental standard ISO 14001:2015


Client challenge

Provincie Antwerpen supports a local population of 1.8 million people across 70 municipalities. The authority’s remit is wide ranging, including shaping policy for local agriculture, culture, the economy, education, environment and nature, recreation, town planning, watercourses and welfare and health.

While a focus on the environmental had been a core part of our client’s strategy since 2007, their environmental policy was ‘ad hoc’ in nature. The organisation asked us to help it gain certification to international environmental management system standard ISO 14001. Provincie Antwerpen wanted to drive best environmental practice throughout the region. It was also keen to realise associated business benefits. These included cost savings and taking the first step to becoming a carbon-neutral organisation.

How we helped

Our support enabled Provincie Antwerpen to not only achieve environmental certification, but get the best value from the ISO 14001 process. This work was grounded in the authority’s strategic environmental and sustainability objectives. Hilde Van Look,Head of Environment at Provincie Antwerpen, explained the value: “Provincie Antwerpen interacts with many organisations of all shapes and sizes many of whom have the potential for a high environmental impact. As a result, it was important for us to lead by example and moreover, without the external certification, we felt that our story would not have the credibility it needed. The value for us was having an independent third party confirming our environmental credentials; that value was delivered by LRQA.”

“To date, 40 out of our 70 municipalities are participating in this objective and are adopting and implementing our environmental policy. Moreover, we are sharing our progress with our contacts with other provinces in Flanders and the Netherlands.”

Insight  & Client comment

Our client highlighted the important role senior management played in gaining ISO 14001 certification. Van Look remarked: “Our leadership team were constantly supporting us with this initiative, and that drives cultural and employee engagement. Even before we started with the pilot, our senior stakeholders wanted a structured work environment that had been iindependently assessed and certified. We wanted to be able to transparently demonstrate our environmental commitment to our internal and external stakeholders with accurate reporting and we felt that certification to ISO 14001 by LRQA could deliver this.”


Client comment 

“Assessment from LRQA gave us a fresh pair of eyes with which we could look at our organisation. That independent view just feels completely different and enabled us to look at aspects of our business that we may have otherwise missed.”

Hilde Van Look

Head of Environment, Provincie Antwerpen

Powerful results

From improved processes and support service integration through to procurement and managing farms, Provincie Antwerpen has seen numerous positive results from implementing and achieving ISO 14001 certification. These are proving good for the environment and the bottom line, with best practices being shared region-wide.

The authority has invested significantly in automation, streamlining work and providing a database that demonstrates environmental performance. Through accurate reporting, the organisation can view its water, energy and paper consumption; aspects that cost money. Detailed reports enable Provincie Antwerpen to identify areas for cost savings.

ISO 14001 has also helped the organisation think about its new headquarters, putting environmental and sustainability commitments front of mind. The new building will be certified to the BREEAM standard, the world’s foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. Our client’s next goal is to achieve carbon neutrality for the organisation by 2020.

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