An environmental management system is a tool for improving your environmental performance. Your business should have one to effectively meet your environmental commitments.
What is an environmental management system?
An environmental management system (EMS) is put in place by an organisation to improve their environmental performance. EMS systems such as ISO 14001 and EMAS are credible certifications that prove that a business is doing as much as possible to improve their performance.
An EMS is a structured approach to an organisation’s environmental commitments. It is systematically planned. This way an organisation can document and measure the effectiveness of their system and continually improve it.
By having an environmental management system you will:
- Improve your environmental performance
- Systematically manage your environmental policies
- Address short and long-term environmental impacts of your products and services
- Allocate your resources to environmental concerns
- Evaluate your current environmental policies
- Continually improve your EMS system
Who needs an environmental management system?
An EMS can be implemented in any organisation. Every business has an impact on the environment. This impact can always be improved. It does not matter how big your business is, or what sector you are in, you should consider having an EMS.
An environmental management system is beneficial to any business. You should have an EMS in place if:
- You are looking to improve your environmental performance
- Want to comply with environmental regulations
- The environmental impacts of your business are a liability
- You lack the time and resources to manage your environmental commitments
- Have no environmental policy at all
- Want a competitive advantage
Gaining a certified EMS is a great marketing tool for your business. An externally certified EMS is even better. This will prove your business is green and actively taking steps to reduce your environmental impact.
Is certification necessary?
At the moment any environmental management system is voluntary. However, as we have seen in this article there are clear benefits for your business if you decide to get certified.
You should also aim to get certified by a national or international accreditation organisation. You can check United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) for information on approved certification organisations.
Types of EMS certification:
There are 2 main certifications that businesses in the UK will opt for. They are both nationally and internationally recognised.
Most businesses will choose the ISO 14001 as it is most internationally recognised. This is an external verification of your organisations environmental policies. To get accredited you have to complete an initial document review and a site visit.
This is a European system that differs from ISO 14001. To get accredited you need an ISO 14001 in place already. You are then required to provide a performance statement, which is independently verified.
It is likely that your business will only need an ISO 14001 to meet your needs. However, an EMAS is seen as more credible and transparent because of the external verification.tagsEMASEMSenvironmental management systems