An EMS integrates environmental management into a company's daily operations, long term planning and other quality management systems.
Compliance with key legal requirements for your own operations and the ability to demonstrate such compliance to your customers Cost savings through the more efficient use of raw materials, packaging, consumables and electricity and reduced disposal costs Risk management through the more effective understanding and management of the key issues leading to potential environmental liabilities.
Improved stakeholder perception to differentiate a company in the increasingly competitive global market place and win new business. Insurers are now also seeking to insure “good risks” by offering discounts on their premiums to ISO14001 certified organisations.
Defra has produced a Position Statement which sets out the Government's policy on EMSs, explains why the Government encourages wider take up of EMSs, outlines the main benefits of implementing an EMS and what role EMSs can play in stimulating organisations to adopt more sustainable practices as well as improve their environmental performance.
The Position Statement identifies the main elements that are required for a good EMS, addresses the role of EMSs in regulation, the role of independent certification and the value of accreditation as well as considering future challenges for EMSs.
EMS Standards ISO 14001
Some organisations develop their own in-house systems which may be appropriate for their sector or size but most seek independent certification against the international standard ISO 14001 which specifies all the requirements necessary for a robust environmental management system. Copies of the standard can be obtained from the British Standards Institution at: BSI-Group
A new British Standard, BS 8555, was launched in 2004 to help organisations put in place a full EMS by taking a phased approach which breaks the implementation process down into stages. Copies of the standard can be obtained from the British Standards Institution. An independent inspection scheme has been developed by the Institution of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) which offers accredited recognition for organisations evaluating and improving their environmental performance through the phased implementation process. Full details of the Acorn Inspection Scheme can be found at: IEMA Acorn Scheme
EMAS (EU Eco Management and Audit Scheme)
EMAS is a voluntary EU wide scheme which gives recognition to organisations who have implemented ISO 14001and produced a public statement about their performance. Copies of the EMAS Regulation, guidance documents and case studies can be found on the web site of the Competent Body at: Eco Management and Audit Scheme More details can found on the website of the European Commission's EMAS pages
Components of an EMS To develop an EMS, an organisation has to assess its environmental impacts, set targets to reduce these impacts, and plan how to achieve the targets.
Organisational commitment: this is the most important component of an EMS For an effective EMS to be developed and implemented, you need commitment from the very top of the organisation, as well as all staff.
Environmental Policy: this is a statement of what an organisation intends to achieve from an EMS.
It ensures all environmental activities are consistent with the organisation's objectives.
Environmental Impact Identification: identification and documentation of the actual and potential environmental impacts of an organisation's operations need to be undertaken. This can be achieved through undertaking an environmental audit.
Objectives and Targets: an environmental audit forms the basis of determining an organisation's environmental objectives and targets. An organisation can find benefits in adopting more stringent longer term objectives to encourage it to improve its performance. To continually improve, targets should be regularly reviewed.
Consultation: staff and community consultation should be undertaken before, during and after establishment of an EMS. This is necessary to ensure that all staff are involved in, and committed to the EMS. It can also help to improve public perception of the company, one of the benefits of implementing an EMS.
Operational and Emergency Procedures: all procedures should be reviewed to ensure they are compatible with the organisation's environmental objectives and targets. Any changes should be included with the documentation.
Environmental Management Plan: this details the methods and procedures which an organisation will use to meet its objectives and targets.
Documentation: all objectives, targets, policies, responsibilities and procedures should be documented along with information on environmental performance. Documentation is useful for verifying environmental performance to staff, regulators and the community.
Responsibilities and Reporting Structure: responsibilities need to be allocated to staff and management to ensure the EMS is implemented effectively.
Training: staff should undergo environmental awareness training to familiarise them with their responsibilities for implementing the EMS and with the overall environmental policy and objectives of the organisation. This provides staff with the necessary skill and motivation for the effective implementation of the EMS.
Review Audits and Monitoring Compliance: review audits should be undertaken regularly to ensure the EMS is achieving its objectives and to refine operational procedures to meet this goal. In order to ensure regulatory and other requirements are being met, it is often necessary to undertake regular environmental monitoring.
Continual Improvement: an important component is continual improvement. An EMS comes into its best use when used to review progress towards the targets and objectives set by a company to protect the environment. The procedures set in place to meet these objectives should be constantly examined to see if they can be improved or if more effective systems can be introduced.
SECBE’s Accelerated EMS programme enables rapid implementation of an Environmental Management System. We can deliver EMS training to individual companies or collectively through supply chains, generating substantial commercial benefits for both client and supplier.
We offer two routes, each over 6 months, with the first to readiness for ISO14001 based on the proven EU EMS system and the second to Level 3 of the BS8555 Acorn System. Both routes are recommended by IEMA (The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment).