Environmental Management Systems

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Looking at developing an Environmental Management System or gaining accreditation of your existing system?

Developing an Environmental Management System (EMS) is a valuable exercise to demonstrate your organisations commitment to sustainability and can create opportunities to access new contracts.

The core components of your organisation’s EMS generally needs to include:

  • EMS Policies – Describing the high-level strategy and intent
  • EMS Procedures – Detailing the specific action that is required
  • EMS Forms – The forms or reports that are to be used in each circumstance

You will need to take steps and develop processes for your organisation to meet its environmental objectives and other requirements of the international standard for environmental management systems such as ISO 14001 (or any other standard that your organisation want to achieve or is required to hold). Identifying the environmental aspects that your organisation can influence and control is an essential part of developing your EMS.

If you are required to have an accredited Environmental Management System, there are set requirements that you will need to meet before you gain accreditation. The way you demonstrate meeting the requirements of a certain clause can vary, although there are common ways that organisations will go about meeting the clauses. For example, setting environmental objectives for fuel reduction with assigned targets and indicators, and systems for monitoring fuel consumption. A simple table can be used to illustrate the objectives with the targets, indicators, responsibility, and date of completion.

Below is another example of an objective of reducing waste disposal.

  • Objective – Improve methods of waste disposal (including hazardous waste)
  • Target – Introduction of waste monitoring and recycling incentives
  • Indicator – Reduction in landfill by 10% through use of recycling and alternate waste disposal methods
  • Responsibility – Operations Manager
  • Completion Date – Annually (December)

If you are looking at gaining accreditation for your EMS you should prepare your organisations by reviewing the requirements under the specific standard, understand how to demonstrate conformance to each clause of the standard, and ensure you have the evidence to back up what activities are being done.

Some of the commitments your organisation may have in place for managing environmental impact may include:

  • Minimising your environmental footprint
  • Working with staff and other stakeholders to improve environmental impact
  • Actively undertake pollution prevention practices
  • Comply with legal and other requirements
  • Providing environmental management role models for others to follow
  • Achieving continual environmental improvement

These high-level commitments will likely be shown in your environmental policy, which should be visible and made available to all personnel. Contact IMG if you need assistance to implement a new EMS or improve your existing system.