More and more organisations are taking to steps to formalise their management of environmental issues. This can be due to client or customer pressure or as part of their commitment to CSR (see page 2). Once implemented an environmental management system (EMS) can identify potential savings especially when you start reviewing energy, waste or material use.
|Whilst there are a number of detailed Environmental Management Systems available, broadly they follow the same model based on ISO 14001.The development of an EMS in an organisation normally follows the format of the ISO 14001 model with an assessment phase, implementation phase (which normally includes an extensive training and awareness programme), a monitoring phase linked to a management review and subsequently external certification. A common approach is to appoint ‘environmental champions’ in logical operational areas to lead the EMS implementation process.|
Prior to achieving any environmental standard an initial review will need to be carried out within the organisation to identify what issue are already being addressed and where additional work or resources will be needed to meet the requirements of the standard.
There are a range of issues which are typically covered during an initial review these normally include:-
- What are the key business impacts?
- What does the business see as its key environmental issues? e.g. waste, energy use etc.
- What environment legislation effects the business on a day to day basis?
- What issues which if not managed could lead to a risk of claims or prosecutions?
- Are there any interested parties external to the company e.g. customers and suppliers?
- What H&S and other business objectives are set? Do any of these impact on the environment?
- What is the accepted best practice in this type of industry sector for environmental practice?
- Are there any potential cost savings?
This should lead to the development of a plan of action to cover all the significant environmental issues.