How can your business benefit from an EMS?

Hello, my name is Chris Caldwell and I’m an experienced environmental consultant at Groundwork specialising in Environmental Management Systems (EMS). I work closely with local businesses on the development and implementation of certified environmental management systems such as ISO 14001.

Internal auditWhat is an EMS?

An EMS is a framework that helps a company achieve its environmental goals through consistent control of its operations. Environmental management systems are different for every organisation – tailored specifically around the environmental goals and resource available within your company.

Cutting costs and reducing energy consumption may be the first EMS benefits that spring to mind, but many companies that I’ve helped see increased sales soon after implementing a certified EMS. Other benefits include commercial and marketing opportunities, improved legal compliance, staff engagement, as well as meeting customer and supply chain expectations.

One of the most satisfying elements of EMS implementation is when a client achieves ISO certification and starts to see some of the cost benefits. Certification is a stamp of excellence which shows that an organisation is professional, well-organised and a great company to do business with.

Whenever I speak to a client who is interested in implementing an certified EMS within their company I always give the following top tips:

Management must commit – Are your top management willing to get their hands dirty? The first step in the adoption of ISO 14001 is that senior management needs to be committed and involved with the EMS.

Never buy a system Off-The-Shelf – Off-the-shelf systems come cheaply enough but are very expensive to maintain because they never quite fit the business.  EMSs and organisations are like people and shoes – one size does not fit all.

It starts with a KIS – As you begin to plan your EMS remember KIS – Keep It Simple…  Be sure not to promise the world, just focus on environmental goals that are important to your business and make sure your EMS works for you.

Be competent – Be sure you have the necessary skills, knowledge, ability, training and experience. If this means outsourcing an expert to get you started, be sure they can integrate with your team and translate the EMS Standard in a meaningful way.

Begin with the goal in mind – Have the goal of certification in mind when you embark on EMS implementation. As a direct result of certification, a large percentage of businesses see an increase in sales through business improvements and winning more tenders.

If you would like to know more about environmental management systems and auditing, Groundwork is running a series of courses on the subject, including ISO14001 Internal Auditor Training, CIEH L3 Award in Environmental Management, and CIEH L2 Environmental Principles and Best Practice.

For more details or to register please contact Lu Yang by email lu.yang@groundwork.org.uk or call 0161 624 1444.

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