ISO 14001 certification for bananas


The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a non-governmental membership organization of 163 national standards bodies setting consensus-based voluntary standards at the international level. It is the world's largest developer of voluntary international standards in most industries, including technologies, food safety, agriculture and healthcare1.

ISO 14001

ISO 14001 is the most notable standard to be found in the ISO 14000 family. The ISO14000 family manages environmental standards that companies and organizations can be certified to2.

  • ISO 14001 sets out the requirements for an Environmental Management System (EMS) for organizations to improve their environmental performance through more efficient use of resources, reduction of waste, analyzing impact on air pollution, water issues and sewerage, waste management, soil contamination and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
  • The standard certifies a process, not a product or environmental impact.
  • The standard does not specify performance objectives beyond national regulations.
  • Since September 2016, organizations willing to be ISO 14001-certified must use the ISO 14001:2015 standard3.

As a management process standard, ISO14001 is particularly relevant for supply chains. In the banana industry, ISO14001 is amongst the most common certifications, particularly among large farms4.

Benefits of ISO 14001 for producers

ISO certifications are internationally recognized and can be used as leverage with importers, wholesalers and retailers when securing contracts.

Opportunity to improve environmental performance and reduce costs.

Reputational advantage: organizations can mention the certification in their communications.

References can be made on the label of the final product that the production process has been certified, and the certification body can also be indicated.


ISO 14001 doesn’t set a specific level of performance regarding environmental impact.

The ISO logo cannot be used on the labels of the final product.

No price premium, creating additional costs for small and medium producers.

Certification process

1. Define the objectives of applying the standard for the particular organization.

2. Obtain the support of the organization leaders and their commitment to uphold the implementation

  • Definition of roles, responsibilities and authorities for environmental management.
  • Allocation of resources.
  • Awareness-raising, development of competence and environmental training to employees.
  • Internal and external communications about the EMS, including technical documentation.
  • Definition of monitoring and management procedures

3. Perform an analysis of the current systems and processes that are relevant in the environmental impact of the organization

  • Assessment of the direct and indirect environmental impacts of the organization's operations.
  • Definition of the EMS scope to address the impacts and drafting of the environmental policy document

4. Select an accredited certification body taking into account the following criteria:

  • Assess different options of certification bodies.
  • Verify if the certification body complies with relevant standards developed by CASCO.
  • Accreditation is not mandatory, however it is a confirmation of a company’s compliance with the criteria. To check accreditation, contact the national accreditation company or visit the International Accreditation Forum

5. Audit

First phase: the audit team verifies that the activities, infrastructure and characteristics of the organization comply with the scope of the standard, the main legal requirements of the application, and that the organization has the required documentation.

  • The organization keeps records of processes and actions and monitors and measures the progress of its operations against the criteria and targets.
  • The audit team prepares a report with the results of the first phase and the non-conformities found.
  • The organization must implement the necessary corrective measures to resolve non-conformities and gets prepared for the second phase of the audit.

Second phase: the audit team verifies if the non-conformities found in phase one are solved and verifies the level of implementation of the management system in all the activities of the organization.

  • Visits to operations centres are made and interviews of the organization's staff are conducted to search for evidence.
  • The report of the second phase is prepared, and in the case of non-conformities, the organization must prepare and submit a corrective action plan to the audit team in the agreed term.
  • If the corrective action plan is approved, the certification body issues the certificate, which is valid for three years.
  • During this period, the certification body will conduct follow-up audits annually, or as required for each case.