Why is a Sustainability Consultancy offering ISO 9001 Quality Management?

When I first set out to build better sustainability reporting systems, it quickly became apparent that most organisations get ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) certification before starting to report their sustainability impacts, and before ISO 14001 they typically get ISO 9001 (Quality Management). Most organisations use a quality consultant to help them achieve ISO 9001, and this consultant then offers ISO 14001. So, if I had any hope of helping organisations with ISO 14001 and their sustainability reporting, it made sense to offer ISO 9001 too.

After completing my ISO 9001 Lead Auditor certification I realised that I had been doing all of the things required by ISO 9001 anyway. My undergrad was a BSc in Information Management and Business Studies which provided the foundations and understanding to run a business, and to effectively manage the associated data and information. Then my early career was as a tech consultant for PWC, specifying software for large banking clients, which demonstrated the benefits of an effective Quality Management System. It is also where I learned many of the best practices I still use today. So while we are a sustainability consultancy, we see ISO 9001 as part of sustainability, because if you’re focused on producing quality products and services for your customer, you are inherently focused on efficiency. Efficiency means you are minimising your waste, which minimises your demand for resources, which is intrinsically more sustainable.

This philosophy also enables us to help you implement systems which are easy to integrate if you do decide to proceed with ISO 14001 in the future (or any other ISO management system) and builds in considerations for sustainability from the outset. It also helps organisation to future proof against an uncertain future.

Businesses in the UK are facing unprecedented challenges; The Brexit Crisis causing uncertainty in the short to mid-term; and the climate crisis affecting organisations in the mid to long term. It’s a perfect storm which might catch out even some of the most prepared companies, let alone SMEs. Companies need to be proactive to anticipating the possible risks and capitalise on opportunities when they arise.

We have officially launched our revamped management system services and believe a new, or updated management system, can support businesses to future-proof themselves against political and environmental turbulence. To deliver on this, we are bringing a fresh approach to ISO management systems by putting automation and reporting at the heart of our products, supporting your organisation to become greener, resilient and more efficient.

When I began work as a sustainability professional, I was surprised to find many organisations were still using unwieldy paper-based systems for their Quality and Environmental Management Systems. Some of these were fine but others were no longer appropriate for their purpose. I could see there was a clear need to modernise and digitise these systems, but also that organisations need time to transition. Therefore, we developed products which can be implemented using either a classic approach; a fully digital approach; or a mix of the two. This way we can deliver the system which is best for the business and help them transition to digital when they are ready.

We can support your ISO 9001 and/or ISO 14001 implementation using two different approaches, with a third in development:


A traditional style system mainly using Word based documents, with some Excel files. Can be managed digitally or in hardcopy.


Uses an Excel database backend to track and report on the performance of your management system. Designed to be digital.


This adds more automation and integration, leveraging APIs to add even more value and continue the digital revolution. (In development)

In addition management systems, we also offer sustainability consulting, including strategy, reporting, timber, health and wellbeing, healthy buildings, innovation, pollution prevention, research, resource efficiency, responsible sourcing, training and workshops.

Furthermore, as a lead auditor, I repeatedly come across the same objectives at different companies. These typically include a new website, hiring a new person or improving digital presence. However, they constantly get bumped to the next period because they were not considered ‘business critical’ and the organisations don’t have time or resource to work on them. We have worked with a number of partners to develop solutions to some of these objectives, which we know will meet management system and business requirements, and can now offer these directly to our clients, saving them time and money. Your website is particularly important today, it is the new shop window, and we have some great packages to choose from, which also incorporate digital marketing and SEO.

If you or any of your subcontractors need a new management system, a review of an existing system or support with your sustainability journey, Totem Sustainability would love to hear from you.

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