Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Introduction - What is an EMS?

What is an EMS

An environmental management system (EMS) is similar to other management systems, such as those that manage quality or safety. It assesses your business' strengths and weaknesses and helps you identify and manage environmental risks and opportunities. It can also save you money by increasing efficiency, it ensures you comply with environmental legislation and provides a framework for continual improvement.

Adopting an EMS does not mean that everyone in your company has to stop driving or you have to set ambitious targets for energy reduction. It is about understanding how your organisation impacts on the environment and those living or working nearby. Both can be affected by your activities, such as by noise, emissions or waste production.

An EMS also helps you to identify how environmental issues may in turn affect your business e.g. availability of resources or flood risk.

An EMS then enables a systematic approach to manage these aspects in order to reduce environmental risk. This will help you plan for the future. You can then set realistic objectives each year for improving your organisation's environmental performance and sustainability.

An EMS can also help you manage your resources, and improves the reliability and credibility of your environmental policy. You can prove to customers that you are committed to meeting your environmental responsibilities by getting your EMS certified, such as through ISO 14001, BS 8555 or the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).

Reporting your environmental performance may in some cases be a legal requirement, or you could undertake it to provide clients and customers with information regarding your green credentials.

This guide provides an introduction to Environmental Management Systems and environmental reporting.

Further information

WRAP (Northern Ireland): Your Guide to Environmental Management Systems

Resource Efficient Scotland: Implement an Environmental Management System

Back to Environmental Management Systems home page

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