Territory 'contact point' for information
Manufacturers and service sector companies can find out more about the ISO 14000 standards and numerous other national and international standards from the Industry Department.
They can seek interpretations of technical details and also obtain copies of the standards from the department's Product Standards Information Bureau.
Most of the services are free.
The Assistant Director-General of Industry for Quality Services, Brian Tyler, said the bureau subscribed to a number of international standards information services.
'We have copyright agreements with major overseas standards authorities to distribute their standards,' he said.
Standards and other information relevant to industry are disseminated to trade and industrial organisations, academic institutions, testing laboratories and various other interested parties.
He said the department was Hong Kong's 'contact point' for all standards, which meant that the department would be informed by overseas bodies about current developments in product standards and certification requirements.
Under international trade agreements, countries are obliged to notify other countries of their technical regulations or standards.
'We received the draft ISO 14000 standards and ISO sought our comments on them,' Mr Tyler said.
Hong Kong is a correspondent member of the International Organisation for Standardisation.
'Hong Kong is also registered on a large number of technical committees of ISO,' Mr Tyler said. He expects the ISO 14000 series of to attract even more attention in Hong Kong than the ISO 9000 standards.
The head of the department's Quality Assurance Unit, Richard Chan, said medium and large companies were most likely to seek certification first for the new environmental management standard.
However, he said certification was no guarantee of a perfect environmentally friendly company.
'The environmental management system itself will not improve environmental protection. It is a management tool. What will be achieved by companies will depend on what objectives and targets they set. It's not absolute,' Mr Chan said.
'A company implementing ISO 14000 will not necessarily be perfect. But what is important is that a company will demonstrate a willingness to improve on its environmental aspects.'