Environmental management systems (EMSs)
Protecting the environment is becoming an increasingly high priority for business, and the legislation in this area is becoming ever more stringent. In order to survive and prosper, companies must anticipate future legislation by putting in place environmental management systems (EMSs).
An EMS is a management tool which can help a business increase its awareness of, and its control over, environmental impacts. It is designed to be flexible enough to be applicable to any size of company and to any industry sector.
An EMS can be applied to a single site, to a division that operates at many sites, or to a company as a whole. This flexibility can be particularly useful in industries where companies may be involved at many different levels, and where the associated environmental impacts may vary widely.
However, companies that do not implement their EMS at all the relevant levels run the risk of undermining their credibility.
Key requirements of an EMS include:
There is no fixed approach to establishing an EMS, but the framework set out below is one example.
1) Commitment by senior management
2) Background analysis
5) Work plan
7) Recommitment to EMS
A company can seek official accreditation for its EMS, under one of several schemes. Certification helps to ensure that the company gets the greatest benefit from its efforts. Go to the section on 'Standards' for details of the two most popular schemes for EMSs - namely ISO 14001 and EMAS.
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