Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Environmental management systems - CMS Windows

Excellence in the manufacture of windows

CMS Window Systems is one of the UK's leading manufacturers and installers of aluminium, PVCu and timber hybrid windows, doors and curtain walling. The company uniquely differentiates itself through its sustainability strategy which has been at the core of the business since it was founded a decade ago.

Sarah Wilson, Marketing Manager at CMS Window Systems explains why the company chose to implement an EMS, how they did it and what benefits this has brought.

"The whole business is built around the principle of resource efficiency. From the outset we've worked hard to develop a product and service portfolio which will make homes and buildings more energy efficient, and thus less demanding on the world's resources. So by setting up our organisation and conducting our business in the most sustainable way we offer a ˜closed loop" to customers.

"This means we operate sustainably in all its dimensions; socially, economically and environmentally. And that's where an EMS plays a vital role. It enables us to implement processes across the business that keep us on track to achieve our environmental goals and continuously review and improve what we do.

How we implemented an EMS

"Full backing from the most senior members of an organisation is essential for a successful implementation. At CMS the Managing Director's full support of the EMS project enabled the Director responsible for Environmental issues, Business Systems Director Martin McCrimmon who is a trained ISO 14001 auditor, to lead the operation.

"10 years ago an initial "Significant Aspects and Impacts" audit was carried out for CMS by an Environmental Scientist and from that stating point CMS was able to build the plan for ISO14001 implementation. Although we utilised a specialist consultant to begin the process back then, today there are some excellent free tools available, especially for smaller organisations. Finding quality information online should be easy for anyone embarking on their EMS journey now.

"We employ an environmental graduate to help administer all aspects of our sustainability programme, such as recycling and energy use, on a day to day basis and proactively research and propose how improvements could be made.

Environmental processes and procedures are embedded in the ethos of the organisation and all departments work to the standards and processes laid out in the EMS. In addition, two dedicated recycling facilities process all waste ensuring maximum resource efficiency.

The close management of our everyday activities ensure we are maintaining best practice and the annual audit processes confirm we're on track and that our policies and procedures are robust.

How an EMS has benefited us so far

"The extent to which an EMS gives us the opportunity to review every part of our business has delivered some significant savings for our business and our clients. It has also proved important in giving our business some strong differentiators in a fiercely competitive marketplace.

"Firstly the EMS has helped us implement a process of designing out waste at inception of project. This saves money for clients and importantly will reduce resource use, a tangible environmental benefit.

"Secondly we have adopted a lean manufacturing model across our 3,500 sq m factory which ensures it is equipped with plant and equipment designed for optimum efficiency. This has resulted in a reduction in the amount of material wasted and the amount of energy used, as well as the manpower required during manufacturing processes.

"The efficiency of our transportation and logistics process was also scrutinised and with the help of the Energy Saving Trust we have implemented a programme of fuel efficient driving training. This ensures our drivers drive in the safest and most fuel efficient way with the shortest routes mapped to reduce vehicle miles. This saved 9.2 tonnes of CO2 in 2015.

Our ability to demonstrate a holistic approach to sustainability, and in particular our environmental credentials, is powerful in helping us win contracts. The EMS keeps us on track and provides us with the USPs which have been instrumental in establishing our excellent reputation, such as our recycling levels, energy usage across our operations and energy performance of the products we manufacture and install. In fact, our ability to collect and recycle old windows and doors removed during refurbishment projects was so attractive to our public sector clients that it has now become a standard criteria of their window refurbishment tenders. This demonstrates that our environmental innovation is improving the sustainability of the supply chain."

"Our achievements have also been recognised by others resulting in the company winning a VIBES Environmental Management Award in 2015. We have also just been selected as one of 6 companies to represent the UK in the European Business Awards for the Environment which we are very excited about.

Our tips for anyone implementing an EMS

  • Ensure the people at the very top of the organisation fully back the EMS implementation.
  • If possible incorporate ISO14001 from the inception of the business and embed it in the culture of the organisation so internal buy in from staff happens naturally.
  • If you are an established company who wants to become ISO14001 registered, set achievable targets each year and move gradually towards it in order to allow staff time to change and adapt.

Our future plans

"We're extremely proud of what our EMS has helped us achieve so far, but we are always reviewing what we do and looking at ways to do things better. The next major step for us is to work towards ISO50001 certification. Whereas ISO 14001 is a generic standard for the environment, ISO 50001 focuses on the cost benefits of utilising energy more efficiently and therefore the business case for instigating it is clear.


You can also search for good practice case studies on the European Resource Efficiency Knowledge Centre (EREK)

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