Environmental Management Systems Boom
Edie is reporting figures from the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) showing that the number of businesses in the UK holding an ISO 14001 certificate has risen by a whopping 15% in the first 6 months of this year.
ISO14001 is probably the most popular Environmental Management System (EMS) for business. While at first glance the standard may seem straightforward, the amount of time and effort required to get all the procedures and documentation together should not be underestimated. The most difficult requirement is probably for ‘continual improvement’ – those pesky auditors will expect you to be able to demonstrate year on year improvements in your environmental performance and many companies make the mistake of ignoring this until it is too late and scrabbling around for tenuous evidence of debatable relevance.
Terra Infirma doesn’t ‘do’ EMSs – our focus is on more practical changes to environmental performance – but we recognise that a well designed EMS can provide a solid framework on which to build a sustainable business. An EMS won’t give you a sustainable business – you will need to be much more radical than mere continual improvement and many find that challenging enough.
I do suggest you consider carefully whether an EMS is suitable for you (eg I’m not convinced an office based organisation needs one – others disagree), and, most importantly, whether you can resource it properly. Your poor Quality/Health & Safety/Whatever manager will not thank you for yet another job title. If you decide to commission one, make sure it works for you and not the other way around. Lastly: good luck!