All Environmental Management Systems set a framework through which the organisation can build on-going ‘continuous improvement'.
Environmental Management System
What is an Environmental Management System?
An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a structured framework allowing a company to manage its environmental impacts and improve its environmental performance in a credible and verifiable way.
Many organisations have adopted or commenced the approach specified in national or international standards which set requirements and a framework for systems to be externally assessed and certified. Whatever scheme is adopted, the elements of the EMS will largely be the same:
• plan what you’re going to do,
• do what you planned to do,
• check to ensure that you did what you planned
• and act to make improvements.
Through this cycle, all Environmental Management Systems set a framework through which the organisation can build on-going ‘continuous improvement'.
What are my environmental impacts?
These vary between organisations but typically will include business waste, emissions, energy use, transport and consumption of materials. Climate change factors are increasingly prominent. Wider factors can also be included, such as impacts on wildlife (biodiversity). In undertaking an EMS you will identify the significant effects relevant to your business.
Why implement an EMS?
An EMS first helps an organisation understand and describe its environmental performance and then helps it improve it.
As well as helping an organisation meet its own environmental targets (and contribute to national targets in the process) a good EMS will help an organisation:
• Improve efficiency and reduce costs
• Achieve competitive advantage
• Manage risks and liabilities and comply with environmental legislation
• Attract socially responsible investment
• Improve communication with employees, customers, investors, regulators and others.