The chances are that you have already heard of an Environmental Management System, or EMS, as it really is an integral part of how we all do business these days. It used to be that it only really applied to risk industries, such as mining and construction, but we now understand that all organisations can have an impact on the environment.
A concise description of an EMS would be a set of policies and tools, a framework if you like, designed to help an organisation operate more efficiently, and reduce its impact on the environment.
And probably the best EMS model around is ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Queensland.
Environmental Management Systems Training
However, it’s not simply a case of sticking a system in place and then forgetting all about it! By its very nature, any management system based on an International Standard is a process, an ever changing and evolving system that must be regularly reviewed and improved.
Environmental Management Systems training is just one part of this process, but it is a very important part, because it’s crucial to get everyone in the organisation onboard, right from the start.
It’s important to remember that it’s not the EMS itself that guarantees an organisation’s environmental performance. The EMS simply puts the tools and the training in place. And to be truly effective, the EMS needs to be tailor-made to the organisation’s specific needs and goals.
Structured Management Approach
The Department of the Environment in Australia describes an EMS as a structured approach to monitoring environmental performance, in just the same way a financial management system would monitor income and expenditure. And it confirms that to develop an EMS, an organisation must assess its environmental risks and impacts, put targets in place to reduce them, and then plan how to achieve those targets.
An EMS is the perfect way for a business to not only meet legislative requirements and improve its environmental performance, but also to improve business efficiency. It brings many benefits to an organisations, such as cost savings, reduced waste, better use of resources, better staff awareness and morale, and improved reputation.
Ideally, and with the help of expert consultants, an organisation will go on to achieve Environmental Management System certification, a process that will substantially improve its standing in the marketplace.
Suppliers Require Certification
Indeed, when it comes to winning major contracts or Government tenders, it is generally expected or demanded that an organisation has an EMS in place. For example, the Australian Government insists that all its ICT suppliers have an EMS certified to ISO 14001, or an EMS aligned to ISO 14001, or agree to align their business processes to the ISO 14001 standard within six months of contract signing.
Of course, there are costs incurred in implementing an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System in Queensland, but these are more than offset by the benefits that certification brings. And while some companies try and reduce these costs by choosing one-size-fits-all solutions online, this is not recommended, and can end up costing more in the long run.
By far the most effective route to take is working with ISO professionals who can not only tailor-make the EMS, but will also provide training and help towards achieving certification. It is crucial that these consultants are Exemplar Global-certified.
Increased Efficient And Savings
The costs involved in choosing this method include the consultant’s fee, training and management/employee time.
This will, however, be offset by increased efficiency and reduced operational costs, resource conservation, and the addition of new markets and customers.
The basis of an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System is Dr W. Edwards Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology. This involves planning the actions you need to take to achieve your goals; implementing that plan; checking the actual results – ie is the plan working, and then act to make any adjustments or improvements.
PDCA can be applied to any Standard, or indeed, to any management method, and while it might appear simple or obvious, it is extremely successful.
There are some excellent case studies on the use of the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, including the University of Queensland. The first university in Australia, if not the world, to achieve EMS certification, the institution described it as something they wanted to do, not something they had to do.
This is a good point. Currently, ISO certification is a voluntary procedure but the benefits are so far reaching, any organisation would be wise to consider it. The University reported that it achieved major cost savings in the collection, transport and disposal of chemical waste; better waste separation; improved relationships with environmental regulators, and less onerous regulatory requirements.
In Queensland, an Exemplar Global-certified consultant can be found in Brisbane. Standard Consulting have been helping SMEs implement and maintain management systems, and achieve certification, for many years. Using the most recently revised ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System, they are currently enabling companies to achieve certification first time, reduce their impact on the environment, and make substantial savings.