Monday, June 27, 2016

HART Achieves Prestigious Environmental & Sustainability Certification!



HART is 1 of 13 transit agencies in US to be ISO 14001 certified
HART recently received an official ISO 14001 Certification for its Environmental Sustainability and Management System (ESMS). Audit firm, DQS Inc., has certified HART as one of only 13 transit agencies in the country and the only transit system in Florida to achieve International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) 14001 Standard.

Sounds good, right? But, what does it mean?

Jeff Seward, HART Chief Financial Officer explains.

"Developing an ISO 14001 certified Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS) program provides assurance to our community, stakeholders, and employees that our operations and services are environmentally friendly. Now that we're certified, the ESMS also provides a framework for us to continuously take steps to reduce pollution and continually improve our environmental footprint on the Tampa Bay region."

HART began work to achieve this certification in 2013 when it was accepted to the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) ISO 14001 EMS Institute at Virginia Tech University. A two-year program, the academy is designed to help transit agencies develop and implement an ESMS, using the ISO 14001 Standard. ISO is an independent, non-governmental organization that brings together experts to share knowledge and develop standards that provide solutions to global challenges such as environmental management.

Our ESMS provides improved internal controls
These management tools enable an organization to control the environmental impact of its activities and represent a structured approach to setting environmental objectives and targets. Fulfilling the requirements of the standard demands objective evidence which can be audited to demonstrate that the environmental management system is operating effectively in conformance with the standard. Benefits include higher conformance with legislative and regulatory requirements, improved efficiency, minimized risk of regulatory and environmental fines, reductions in waste and consumption of resources, and better internal controls.

The FTA has sponsored four ESMS academies, each with a class of 10 transit agencies. Of those, 13 have gone on to become ISO 14001 certified and HART is the only one in Florida, placing it in the upper echelon of transit agencies that have made a commitment to the environment.

In terms of ridership, the other thirteen transit systems are diverse. Several transit agencies are close to our size; Foothill Transit in California provided more than 14 million rides in 2015. Sound Transit in Seattle is over twice our size and provides 28 million rides a year; Lane Transit District (LTD) in Oregon provides an average of 11 million rides a year. Another peer with the certification is the nation's third largest transit provider, Los Angeles Metro, which provided 453 million boardings in 2015. Agencies of all sizes are making the commitment. Pursuing this level of environmental performance makes for a safer, cleaner environment.