Virtually every company knows they need to act responsibly when it comes to their impact on the environment. Some will inevitably have a far greater impact than others due to the nature of their business. But there’s no avoiding the fact we all have responsibilities we must meet.
It’s a big and complex subject area and identifying your next steps can be challenging. Where should you start with meeting your responsibilities? You may already do some environmental management activity but sense there’s more you can do or believe you could improve the way you do it. So where can you go from here?
Have you considered an environmental management system?
A solution many companies decide to adopt is to implement an environmental management system (EMS). It’s a framework that helps you organise your environmental programmes in a systematic and documented way and while it might not sound like the most exciting thing ever, having one can actually make a lot of business sense.
Why? Well, at the most obvious level it’ll help you get a much clearer understanding of what you need to do to meet your responsibilities. It can help you identify and manage key environmental issues then work out how you are going to improve on them. It’ll help you focus your efforts in managing waste and using resources more efficiently. Which of course can only be good news for your business’s bottom line.
But an EMS brings other benefits too. Environmental management systems have the potential not only to help you control costs but to increase your business too; having one is a way to demonstrate to customers that you’re an environmentally aware company committed to ongoing improvement. For many customers, that’s an important consideration when deciding whether to do business with you or not.
You don’t have to choose to have your EMS externally verified against a standard like ISO 14001. But if you do, you could be increasing your pool of potential customers. Many large businesses and government departments will only consider dealing with you if you’ve an externally accredited system.
How should you decide if an EMS is right for you?
Implementing an EMS requires work. For some companies a full blown environmental management system might still be more than they need despite the benefits.
But how do you decide? One useful option is to attend the one day Environmental Awareness at Work programme from NEBOSH. It introduces the main concepts behind effective environmental management and makes sure you understand all the key terms. It then explains in greater detail exactly what an EMS is.
Even if you don’t think you’d want to introduce an environmental management system, the course is really useful for giving you (or your employees) a thorough grounding in your responsibilities and for explaining what you can do to successfully manage environmental issues in your business. Pollution management, impact assessments, waste management, environmental emergencies, sustainability, climate change, biodiversity – there are a lot of issues that you and others in your business need to know about.
Whether you choose to go down the environmental management system route or not, you must find ways to meet your environmental responsibilities. It can be hard to keep on top of it all and there’s nothing wrong with asking for some help! So don’t forget that as a facilities and support solutions provider LMS can draw on all its strategic and business partners to make sure you get precisely the support you need.