Barriers to the implementation of ISO 14001 (with special reference to the Durban Automotive Cluster).
The re-emergence of South Africa into the global automotive market has had a significant impact on domestically based Original Equipment Manufactures (OEMs) and their component suppliers. While South Africa's exposure to the global market has brought about opportunities for firms to gain access to global markets, it has brought with it a vast number of pressures, including the pressure to comply with local and international environmental standards. Many of the OEM's have been set a deadline of January 2005 for ISO 14001 certification. The aim of the research was to explore and understand the complexities of the ISO 14001 implementation process with the objective of establishing the barriers that hamper its implementation, the determination of what factors influence these barriers and the investigation of possible recommendations on how organisations could overcome, or minimize, these barriers. To achieve this, a study was conducted on the Durban Automotive Cluster (DAC) investigating the following areas: 1. Determine the reasons for seeking ISO 14001 certification. 2. Determine what the organisations perceived and experienced as the barriers to implementation. 3. Determine the strategic implications of an Environmental Management System (EMS). A theoretical basis of ISO 14001, the implementation process and its strategic implications were established by reviewing previous research. A survey was conducted on the DAC's members through the use of a self-administrated questionnaire. The research showed that organisations chose to seek ISO 14001 certification in order to satisfy customer requirements and subsequently the strategic implications of ISO 14001 certification are very high. In terms of barriers to implementation, finance, resources allocation, expertise and implementation time proved to be the most problematic areas. In order for organisations to implement ISO 14001, they need to give due recognition to its strategic implications and use these implications as the basis for its justification. In order for organisations to be able to capitalize on the benefits of the system and use it to build a competitive advantage, they should attempt to integrate the environmental management system with their other management systems.