It’s likely you’ve heard the term EMS – or Environmental Management System. It crops up in all sorts of places, increasingly so, as we focus on protecting the environment and reducing our usage of natural resources.
However, some businesses think it doesn’t apply to them, that it’s just for companies who manufacture, for example, chemicals. But that’s not actually correct.
The ISO 14001 environmental management system applies to most if not all businesses. We may not be dealing with toxic waste – but we are using resources and energy, creating waste, using transport to get to work or deliver products and so on.
An EMS is a set of procedures and processes designed to minimise and manage the environmental impact caused by producing products and services.
Impact on the Environment
In fact, any type of business that could have even the smallest impact on the environment should be considering an ISO 14001 environmental management system.
Companies with this in place will generally aim to then achieve environmental management system certification, enhancing their reputation in the marketplace, and enabling them to compete with the bigger players.
There is a great deal of importance placed on protecting our environment, be it through businesses becoming more efficient or householders recycling. And that’s the thing. It’s not something we expect just business owner to take on board – we’re all doing it.
And perhaps that’s the reason why customers are increasingly demanding that companies take action to reduce their impact on the environment.
The recently revised ISO 14001 environmental management system is used for determining the environmental impact of business processes on the environment and taking necessary protective measures to reduce the effect. It will help a business to identify, prioritise and manage all environmental risks.
Achieve Your Targets
To develop an EMS, a business or organisation has to assess its environmental impacts, set targets to reduce these impacts, and plan how to achieve the targets.
Generally a business starts this process by consulting environmental management system Queensland consultants.
Consultants can help a business implement an EMS through environmental management system training and creating tailor-made documentation to suit that business and that industry.
An EMS looks at environmental issues such as air pollution, water and sewage issues, waste management, soil contamination, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and resource use and efficiency.
An EMS is a powerful tool to achieve, because it send a very strong message about a company’s mindset and ethos. It says, ‘we care about our customers, our employees and our environment’.
Companies that achieve this sort of reputation generally find they attract more customers and increase their profits.
With environmental management system training a business can set these policies in action quite quickly, knowing their consultants are there to assist, and guide them towards possible Environmental Management System certification.
The benefits of doing this are many: improved performance, reduced risks, compliance with current – and future – legislation, satisfied customers, happy staff, the list just goes on.
The ISO 14001 environmental management system follows a very straightforward process: firstly, the business needs to develop an environmental policy and plan its EMS. The next stage is implementing the EMS.
The next stages involve checking and reviewing, and continually improving the EMS.
A key part of a process like this is communication and again, that’s something EMS training consultants will assist with. The policy needs to be communicated to all stakeholders, including staff, customers and suppliers.
It’s important to remember that ISO itself does not perform certification. Additionally, accredited certification to ISO 14001 is not a requirement, and businesses can still reap many of the benefits without going through the certification process.
However, certification is a way of ‘putting your money where your mouth is’ and showing your customers, staff, suppliers, buyers and other stakeholders that you are serious about your environmental management system in Queensland.
There are many resources available to explain more about the system and its requirements. It’s a good idea to establish what YOU want to achieve by going down this path, and you need to be certain that your senior management will buy into it and support it. They will play a key role in the process.
Your training and management system consultants will help you scrutinise your current policies and practices, and see what can be included in your ISO 14001 environmental management system, and what needs to be worked on or refined. Or done away with altogether.
They can also explain the other ISO Standards in the 14000 group, such as ISO 14004, which provides guidance on setting up and implementing an EMS, and coordinating it with the business’s other management systems.
ISO 14006 is for organisations that have already implemented an EMS in accordance with ISO 14001, but want to integrate eco-design into other management systems.
After that, the ISOs become very specific. For example, ISO 14064-1 is concerned with the quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removal.