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Systems & standards

Management systems and standards play an increasingly important role in corporate sustainability. By taking a systems approach, companies are able to focus more objectively on their performance, and to ensure that important areas have not been overlooked.

Standards, meanwhile, provide a means for companies to quantify their social and environmental performance, and to identify areas where improvement is needed. They can also be used to demonstrate to stakeholders that the company's list of achievements is more than mere 'greenwash'.

This section introduces environmental management systems (EMSs), together with the two principal standards for EMSs - ISO 14001 and EMAS.

It also introduces some other management systems that can play a role in corporate sustainability strategies, including life-cycle assessment, the 'Natural Step' program and total cost assessment (TCA).

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