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Environmental Management Systems (EMS)

Implementation of EMS (Environmental Management Systems) such as ISO 14001 can bring you big benefits as a company, they can reduce environmental risk (possibly leading to cheaper insurance and reduced non-compliance penalties), they can increase efficiency, improve your company's outward image, help promote a positive work ethic.

Life Cycle Assessment can often be used to winkle out inefficient processes that are costing your business. For example encouraging your supplier to provide your goods in a more usable form might be good for both parties.

EMS is an intricate system, but the BSI offer simplified routes for smaller companies (such as The Acorn Initiative) to facilitate with implementation. There are several EMS standards to choose from:

ISO 14001

Whilst some organisations may stick with an in-house system for environmental management, those tendering for contracts or selling to an international market may wish to implement a international recognised environmental management standard.ISO 14001 is probably the most widely recognized environmental management standard, and should be choice no. 1 for the majority of enterprises.

BS 8555

BS 8555 is an alternative to ISO14001, it may tie in well if you work to other British standards, but will not be as well recognized outside of the UK.

EMAS (EU Eco Management and Audit Scheme)

EMAS is a "overage" for any EMS, and is widely recognized in the Europe member core states.

Please feel free to telephone the office for an informal discussion regarding any of the services we provide. Detailed written quotations can be provided upon request.

EMS Case Study:

A Bean Sprout Grower in the UK:

One of its main produce are bean sprouts, which need year-round heat and water. Given the Manchester climate, the company has to create these stable conditions artificially, and spends more than £250,000 on energy. Following implementation of an Environmental Management System, it was able to implement measures which have saved them £30,000 per annum.

Located in Manchester, Simply Fresh Foods produces pre-prepared foods for high street supermarkets. The company employs 330 people and is based at two different sites – one for growing food produce and the other for processing those foods. Bean sprouts are grown and packed on site along with vegetables and noodles

The two ingredients needed for bean sprouts to grow naturally are heat and water. Because the former is not a permanent feature of the UK climate, the company has to look to the more reliable sources of electricity and gas to ensure that produce grows all year round.

In fact, each year the sites use more than 50 million gallons of water and has energy costs of more than £250,000.

Simple ideas lead to big savings.

As a result of EMS, staff at both sites have become more energy conscious.

So far the company’s energy bill has been reduced by £30,000 a year.

Documentation for Environmental Management System

There are many documents that must be assembled and cross referenced in order to create a complete Environmental management System. Below are a selection of such documents, please click a link to learn more.

EMS - Compliance Register
EMS - Records
EMS - Environmental Aspects Register
EMS - Standard Operating Procedures
EMS - Which areas do SWEL cover?
EMS - Environmental Policy
EMS - Objectives, Targets and Management Program
EMS - Audits

EMS - Environmental Policy

As part of your environmental management system you must produce an environmental policy. It must include the following to be fit for accreditation under ISO 14001. Your Policy should be that last thing you write, write your aspects and impacts register first.

Commitments for Continual Improvement

Your organization must commit it's self to continual improvements, ie. lowering energy consumption, or reducing waste.

Commitments to Prevent Pollution

Preventing pollution can be prevented via compliance to regulations. For example oil storage regulation specify a bund with 110% capacity of the tank it surrounds. Check to see if you bunding is adequate.

Compliance Commitments

There is a great deal of environmental legislation that will apply to your business, some of which is benign, other legislation may be quiet hands on. A reference to your compliance register will be needed here.

Objectives and Targets

The what has been spelled out in your commitments above, now we start to introduce the how. Environmental Management Systems need not be complicated, start with aspects that have been prioritized in your aspects and impacts regsiter. Quiet often energy use is a primary aspects, set a target to reduce energy consumption by 5% over 2 years. Objectives might include reducing ambient temperatures or draught exclusion.


Your Environmental Policy should include a statement setting out how the environmental management system is to be maintained and verified as complete.


The Environmental Policy should also include details of how and where the environmental management system documentation is made publically accessible, and how it is disseminated to employees, and company stake-holders.

Aspects and Impacts Register

An aspects and impacts register is one of the most important part of your would be (Environmental management System (EMS). It considers the aspects of your operation such as energy use, and then outline the impacts such as global warming and resource depletion.

If you are setting up an EMS for the first time then you need to consider baseline data, again using energy as an example you can sourced baseline data ie kWh consumption from your energy bills. It is important to differentiate between different times of energy gas. oil, electricity as they all have differing types and severity of impacts.

Example Chapter of Aspects and Impacts Register.

2.5       Wastes

2.5.1    Aspect & Aspect Sources

Wastes of various natures are created as a result of processes at Company A. Whether recycled or sent to landfill wastes have an impact on the environment.

2.5.2    Impact & Significance

Company A currently has excellent waste management in place, wastes are segregated and staff are well motivated and practice good waste management. Bins for the various waste types are placed in convenient locations and are clearly labeled.



















2.5.3    Aims & Objectives

The adage Reduce, Reuse Recycle should be applied where ever practical.

Processes should be examined to reduce waste. Example: would it be possible to use reusable packaging to prevent disposal of packaging wastes. If not perhaps packaging could be reused for outgoing orders. At a last resort cardboard should be sent of recycling, composting for example.

It is difficult to see how waste management can be improved at Company A, and attention should be focused elsewhere for the time being.

Compliance Register

There are a great many piece of environmental legislation both domestic and European that relate to the average business, even a very small company will need to check compliance with numerous regulations. For example waste regulations, will apply to most businesses.

A compliance register is a list of regulation relevant to your organization, with references to said legislation and a record of who is responsible for ensuring compliance in each instance. For example;

Compliance with Air emissions may rely on a particular filtration system to ensure environmental quality standards are met. So responsibility for air emissions might fall with maintenance teams, to ensure that the equipment is operating effectively.

Objectives and Targets

When you have written you Aspects and Impacts Register you will start to form an ideas of your operations impacts on the environment. You can then start to formulate your objectives for reducing these impacts.

The aspects and impacts register may point to energy use as your most significant impact, this should then be prioritised, you may have numerous objectives in mind to lower an impact;


  1. To lower energy consumption via signage.

  2. To lower energy impact bu switching to a green energy tariff.


  1. To Lower Energy Consumption by 5%

  2. To lower energy carbon intensity by 10%

You may not want to create objectives and targets for every aspect, as some may be considered to be of little importance.

Operating Procedures

You should write up operating procedures for the following;

  1.  Disposal of Controlled Waste

  2. Packaging

  3. Maintenance

  4. Company Cars

  5. Document Control

  6. Energy Control

There will be others and not all of the above will apply to your originisation.

Expansion - Energy Control of Monitoring SOPs

  1. Scope - What is covered.

  2. Responsibilities - Who is responsible.

  3. Control of Electricity Usage - How you intend to do it (turn off heating in summer).

  4. Monitoring - Where are the meters, who is your supplier.

  5. Reporting - Who writes up the findings.

Environmental Records

ISO 14001 requires that you keep lots of environmental Records.

Amongst other thins you mill need to keep records of;

  1. Audits Findings

  2. Revisions of Documents

  3. Complaints

  4. Near Misses

Environmental Audits

A requirement of ISO14001 is that your company undertakes regular internal audits of your Environmental Management System (EMS). More pressing matters such as leaky pipes or insufficient bunding of storage tanks should be dealt with as soon as possible. Whilst typically most processing will need to be audited once a year in order to comply with the rules of the ISO14001 scheme.

An audits findings should be recorded and this record should be retained, key workers and environmental managers should be present at the audit.

An internal audit should look over you objectives and targets, and assess whether you are on track to meet them, if not then a different objective should be formulated.

Environmental Compliance Audit for Construction Sites

Process or Business Carbon Audit

EMS - Which areas do SWEL cover?

We have offices in London, Bristol and Exeter and will come to visit you in any part of the the UK.

Compost Quality Standard

SWEL offer advice on becoming certified under PAS 100 and CQP.


Environmental Consultants Bristol

Environmental Consultants Exeter

Environmental Consultants London


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Environmental Management Consultants

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