Environmental management takes many forms and shapes. In the petroleum industry there is at this point nothing new to the concept of managing waste products, atmospheric emissions and discharges of various origins. Most of these ‘classic’ categories are also today heavily governed by various offshore petroleum and maritime authorities.

I represent a drilling contractor that is presently engaged in the process of being world wide certified to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard (hereafter referred to as ISO 14001).

ISO 14001 has many requirements; identification of significant environmental aspects and their impact, legal and other requirements associated with them and setting of appropriate control measures; just to name a few.

But most importantly the commitment to pollution prevention, compliance to legal and other requirements and finally continual improvement of the overall environmental performance is crucial for having any company certified to ISO 14001.


Environmental Aspect: element of an organization's activities or products or services that can interact with the environment (European Standard EN ISO 14001:2004).

The Challenge

When looking for ways to improve our system and performance we must distinguish on one side between everyday operational issues such as managing our emissions, waste products and discharge to the sea. On the other side we find shore based purchase & logistics and engineering tasks in context with e.g.: modification of existing ‘hard ware’, new builds and yard stays.

ISO 14001 requirement: ‘Establish, implement and maintain procedures related to the identified significant environmental aspects of goods and services used by the organization and communicate applicable procedures and requirements to suppliers, including contractor’ (European Standard EN ISO 14001:2004, section 4.4.6).

How to deal with and document environmental consideration in the process of evaluating and ultimately selecting subcontractors and suppliers in various projects and dealing with them in purchase and logistics was an issue that we constantly came across. ISO 14001 requires in addition to those aspects an organization can control directly that the organization should also consider aspects that it can influence such as those related to goods and services provided by others.

Any organisation committed to these requirements should consequently set its own criteria for how to manage and influence these aspects.

Consequently we realized that a more structured approach was needed in order to have these environmental aspects under control (and improved over time). Naturally, the idea was to influence the environmental performance of the company at the earliest possible stage to the benefit of the daily operational performance.

Being part of a large organisation also required consideration towards ‘mother company’ purchase & logistics functions from which many of our consumed products are supplied and managed via high level frame agreements.


Following a management system review a requirement was identified for a system template ensuring:

  • Identification (evaluation criteria) and monitoring of suppliers and sub-contractors

  • Maintaining records of same

  • Managing records of product and service nonconformance (and associated follow up action)

  • Structured coordination- and audit nomination of suppliers and sub-contractors

  • Implement the template in-house and in purchase & logistics systems

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