Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
Running a business, whatever the size or type of your business, costs money and can impact on the environment. But you can take practical steps to manage your environmental performance and save money. The principles of sustainable development can be achieved in a way that enhances your business performance.
Your business can reduce its environmental impact by using an environmental management system (EMS). An EMS helps you to identify your impacts and then manage your activities, for example the energy or water you use or the waste you produce. This can help you to improve your environmental performance.
Your EMS should be appropriate to the type and size of your office activities.
For more information about how an EMS can help your office see our EMS guidance.
You can use the Environmental management toolkit to help manage your environmental impacts.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has produced a Sustainable Manufacturing Toolkit for use by businesses in the manufacturing sector.
Your business can benefit from improving, and reporting on, its environmental performance. For example reporting will:
You should focus on how you manage your key environmental impacts, for example energy use and waste and document the progress you are making to minimise your impact.
To find out how you can measure and report on your business' environmental performance see:
You will buy a variety of goods and services as an office business, from paper to computers to catering and cleaning services.
You can reduce the environmental impact of the goods and services you purchase and could reduce your costs by following green or sustainable procurement principles.
Consider the environmental impacts during the full life cycle of a product or service when buying, including:
Before buying any goods, consider first whether the product or service needs to be bought at all.
Encourage all your office staff to work together to improve your environmental performance. The day-to-day actions of your staff can significantly reduce your environmental impact. Ask someone to volunteer at your office as the environmental champion.
Engage with senior management to gain their support for environmental policies.
Raise awareness among staff about your policies and update them regularly on your progress and what you've achieved.
You can use the NetRegs e-learning tools to get a good overview of key issues. These tools are free to use and cover the essential points of each topic. They might be useful as a refresher course, or to make sure that staff have a good understanding of their environmental responsibilities.
All are available at: NetRegs e-learning tools
Read our guide to the circular economy, with links to organisations and sources of information that will help develop a more circular approach to your business activities.
BSI has created a free briefing on the BS 8001:2017 standard. This aims to help businesses take steps to develop a more circular approach to their activities.
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.
Any person intending to alter the use or management of areas of uncultivated or semi-natural land must obtain prior approval from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
Read more on the DAERA website
The NetRegs team at SEPA, in partnership with The Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and a number of industry bodies have produced 9 new GPPs to replace out of date PPGs. More are coming! Check the available topics
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