Should international standards for quality management be combined with those for environmental management? No, concludes a technical advisory group set up by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). A better approach, the panel says after a year-long study, is to make the ISO 9000 quality series and the ISO 14000 environmental series more compatible. That would make it easier for businesses to implement both, if they desire. The job of ironing out conflicts between the two sets of standards, the group adds, should be finished by 2000 or 2001. Among suggested changes: Relevant terms and definitions should be identical, and there should be consistent use of terminology in both families of standards. Also, management system and auditing standards should be aligned as much as possible. An objective should be a common core document, with accompanying separate modules on quality and environment. ISO's Technical Management Board is studying the recommendations. The board meets next month.
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