What is an environmental management system (EMS)?

An environmental management system (EMS) is a systematic approach to managing a company’s environmental impacts and responsibilities. Developing and implementing an EMS can help small businesses improve their environmental performance, meet regulatory requirements, and gain a competitive advantage.

Here are some steps to help your small business prepare an EMS:

  1. Conduct an environmental review to identify your company’s environmental impacts and obligations. This can include assessing your current operations, products, and services, as well as any relevant legal and regulatory requirements.
  2. Develop an environmental policy that reflects your company’s commitment to environmental protection and sustainability. This policy should be clear, concise, and supported by senior management.
  3. Identify key environmental impacts of your business and set specific objectives (and targets if appropriate) for reducing or mitigating these impacts.
  4. Develop an action plan that outlines the steps your company will take to achieve its environmental objectives and targets. This plan should include specific roles and responsibilities, deadlines, and performance indicators.
  5. Implement the action plan and monitor your progress towards meeting your environmental objectives and targets. This may involve training employees, implementing new processes and procedures, and using tools and technologies to track and measure your environmental performance.
  6. Regularly review and update your EMS to ensure it remains effective and relevant to your business. This may involve conducting periodic audits, consulting with stakeholders, and incorporating new information and requirements.

By developing and implementing an EMS, small businesses can demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility and improve their environmental performance. This can help build trust and credibility with customers, employees, and regulators, and can ultimately lead to a more sustainable and profitable business. It can also help you meet procurement or funding requirements and the environmental requirements of B Corp.

An EMS can be externally certified to ensure it is robust and to maximise the marketing benefits. ISO 14001 is the international standard for environmental management systems but Green Small Business provides an SME-specific alternative, which is more appropriate, manageable and affordable than ISO 14001.

We offer two approaches to developing an environmental management system:

  1. download our environmental management system templates & guide to develop your own EMS in-house
  2. let us do the work for you
environmental management digital art

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We would love to hear from you. If you have any questions about Green Small Business or about managing the environmental impacts of your business, book a call with Tim or send us a message using the contact form.

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