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What can your business do for World Environment Day?

It is World Environment Day on Saturday 5th June 2021, and it is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of the environment. Its mission is to actively create a more environmentally friendly world for us all to live in, encouraging us all to do our part.

In the spirit of environmental awareness, we’d like to share the benefits of implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS). Whether you’re part of a small or large organization, and already have initiatives in place or not, complying to ISO 14001 can be a great starting point to create a more environmentally friendly workplace.

What is an Environmental Management System?

ISO14001:2015 is an Environmental Management System that aligns your business processes and procedures to manage the impact of business activities in a bid for increased sustainability. Positively impacting the environment is often the driving force behind a business certifying to ISO14001, however there is often the added benefit of reduced general costs and improved reputation.

How does implementing an EMS benefit the environment?

According to ISO, implementing ISO14001 has several benefits “including reduced energy and water consumption, a more systematic approach to legal compliance and an improved overall environmental performance.” (1)  This can include initiatives to achieve zero landfill waste, sustainable packaging, or reducing carbon emissions through renewable energy sources. You know your organization best and know the areas for improvement; implementing an Environmental Management System creates a structured and accountable approach to bettering the sustainability within the organization.

How can ISO14001 benefit your organization?

Whilst the key is to create an environmentally sustainable business model, there are other added benefits to certifying to ISO 14001.

  • More opportunities: Investors are more inclined to work with businesses who are taking control of their environmental impact.
  • Increased target market: More consumers are actively buying from sustainable sources and this is likely to increase as we become more aware.
  • Cost savings: Managing waste and efficiently using resources can have the added bonus of reduced overheads.
  • Competitive advantage: Increase your USP by showing off your environmental responsibility.
  • Staff morale: Knowing that your organization is doing its part can help boost morale as colleagues work together to reduce their carbon footprint.

Get the whole team involved!

ISO standards often include a culture change and getting all team members on board can be a task in itself. If you’ve decided that ISO14001 is the right step for your organization then why not try some of our ideas to get the whole team involved and more aware of their environmental impact.

  • Set up a walk or cycle to work scheme. Fewer colleagues travelling by car will reduce carbon emissions, and you could make it into a challenge: Who can achieve the most car-free days in a month?
  • If you’re office-based, why not set up a rota for all colleagues to take it in turns to ensure all lights and electrics are switched off before the end of the day?
  • Provide environmental management training for all key colleagues who will be able to share their knowledge and embed the change within the organization.
  • Provide recycling instructions on all waste bins. According to Stanford University, people are more likely to recycle if there are clear instructions on how to do so, it will also actively remind colleagues of the environmental mission within the workplace.
  • If your place of work has a water cooler with plastic cups, where all the best ideas are thought of, why not trade these in for branded reusable bottles for all colleagues. Saving on plastic waste and in turn, making everyone feel part of the team.

Is there relevant environmental legislation?

Here in the UK, we have environmental legislation that your organization may need to comply to, and likely wherever you are in the world, your country will have legislation in place to limit the impact businesses have on the environment. If you’re a UK based organization looking to get in the know of all things UK environmental law, our partners at Cedrec provide online subscriptions to plain English summaries, full text, and daily updates for environmental legislation.

Where to start?

To get you started, you can download a free document from our ISO 14001 toolkit. And of course, our implementation guide is a great starting point providing advice of what the ISO 14001 standard involves and next steps for implementation. You can download yours using the form to the right.

 

 

References:

(1) – https://www.iso.org/files/live/sites/isoorg/files/store/en/PUB100372.pdf

Download our ISO14001 Implementation Guide

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