EMS can improve SME profitability

25th November 2011

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Certification ,
  • EMS ,
  • Management ,
  • Management/saving ,
  • Reporting



Having a certified environment management system (EMS) can help smaller companies cut costs, attract new business and reduce CO2 emissions, confirms a Defra study.

A nine-month research project examining the environmental and business performance of 31 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), found that more than a third experienced increased sales after implementing an EMS, with a further third confirming they expected to do so in the near future.

The study, which audited the firms after they had certified their EMS to either ISO 14001 or BS 8555/Acorn, reveals the majority were able to reduce their costs with an average annual saving of £4,875 per million pounds of turnover. However, levels of savings varied considerably with Defra concluding “those SMEs that invested more in implementing the EMS upfront achieved the highest payback”.

SMEs investing more on establishing their EMS achieve average costs savings of £4,875, and Defra estimates that they achieve payback on establishing their system in just three months. For firms already experiencing an upturn in business, payback time reduced to just one month – with organisations quoting additional sales of almost £15,000 per million pounds of turnover.

The research also reveals tangible environmental benefits with 28 of the 31 participants able to reduce carbon emissions by 39 tonnes per million pounds of turnover.

In publishing the findings, environment minister Richard Benyon said: “All businesses should be planning green and growth together – strategic thinking about environmental management leads to more sales, bigger profits and a more attractive business to clients and investors.

IEMA welcomed the report as highlighting both the benfits for SMEs in embedding effective environmental systems, but also the important role of smaller business in the UK’s broader approach to sustainability.

“SMEs are a vital part of the economy and this research demonstrates that effective environmental management helps to support jobs and enable businesses to grow sustainably as we transition to a greener economy, as well as reducing environmental impacts,” said Martin Baxter, IEMA policy director.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

EU and UK citizens fear net-zero delivery deficit

Support for net zero remains high across the UK and the EU, but the majority of citizens don't believe that major emitters and governments will reach their climate targets in time.

16th May 2024

Read more

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

Taxing the extraction of fossil fuels in the world’s most advanced economies could raise $720bn (£575bn) by 2030 to support vulnerable countries facing climate damages, analysis has found.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The largest-ever research initiative of its kind has been launched this week to establish a benchmark for the private sector’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close