environmental management systems

Environmental Management Systems

Environmental management systems are used by organisations in both the private and public sectors to help them reduce their environmental impacts, comply with relevant legislation, and demonstrate that they are managing their environmental risks and liabilities responsibly.

ISO14001, and the Acorn Scheme (BS8555) are recognised International and British Standards which help businesses understand and manage their environmental impacts and demonstrate this to their customers. A third scheme known as EMAS (EU Eco Management and Audit Scheme) is similar to ISO14001 but with an additional requirement for public reporting of environmental performance.

Walton Environmental has successfully guided a number of businesses to full certification status to all these standards.

ISO 14001

Most organisations implementing environmental management systems seek independent certification against the international standard ISO 14001 which specifies all the requirements necessary for a robust environmental management system. Copies of the standard can be obtained from the British Standards Institution at: http://www.bsigroup.co.uk/en/Standards-and-Publications/
ISO 14001 is a management tool enabling an organization of any size or type to:

  • identify and control the environmental impact of its activities, products or services, and to
  • improve its environmental performance continually, and to
  • implement a systematic approach to setting environmental objectives and targets, to achieving these and to demonstrating that they have been achieved.

ISO 14001 does not specify levels of environmental performance but provides a framework for a strategic approach to the organisation’s environmental policy, plans and actions.

To achieve certification to ISO14001 an organisation will need to implement a range of written procedures, establish an environmental policy, objectives and targets and commit to legal compliance and continual environmental improvement.

EMAS (EU Eco Management and Audit Scheme)

EMAS is a voluntary EU wide scheme which gives recognition to organisations who have implemented ISO 14001 and also produce regular public statements about their performance. Further information can be found on the following web site: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/emas/index_en.htm

BS 8555

A British Standard, BS 8555, was introduced in 2004 to help organisations put in place a full EMS by taking a phased approach. This breaks the implementation process down into 6 stages. This scheme is particularly suited to small to medium sized enterprises with completion of phase 6 being the equivalent of ISO14001 or EMAS. An independent inspection scheme has been developed by the Institution of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) which offers accredited recognition for organisations implementing this scheme to any of the 6 phases, although most opt for phase 3 or above. Full details of the BS 8555 and the Acorn Inspection Scheme can be found at: http://www.iema.net/ems/acorn_scheme