EMS use falls

21st May 2015

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  • Business & Industry ,
  • Energy ,
  • Manufacturing ,
  • Resource extraction ,
  • Water


Rachel Lawson

The number of firms in the UK using an environmental management system (EMS) decreased from 70% in 2012 to 67% in 2013, according to government data published today.

The data came from the environment department (Defra), which commissioned consultants Aecom to carry out the survey.

Almost 250 firms took part, with responses coming from sectors, including mining and quarrying, food and tobacco, chemicals, water supply and treatment, energy production and distribution.

Of the firms with an EMS in place, nearly three quarters were certified to ISO 14001, an increase from 2012 when two thirds reported having an EMS certified to the international standard. No companies responding to the survey had an EMAS (the EU Eco-management and audit scheme) or BS 8555 certified EMS. Only 1.3% reported having either of these standards in place in 2012.

An EMS is far more common in large companies, with 61% implementing an EMS certified to 14001. By contrast, only 36% of small or medium-sized enterprises have implemented 14001.

The survey asked firms if they considered environmental issues in procurement and contract management. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of companies across all sectors said they did so, with 47% doing so formally and 24% informally.

The chemicals and pharmaceuticals sector performed best in this category, with 70% saying they considered these issues formally, and a further 26% looking at them informally.

Energy companies were the worst performers, with 47% reporting that they did not consider the environment at all in procurement. Overall, 21% of all respondents do not consider environmental issues in procurement and contract management.

A new question in this year's survey sought to find out whether companies applied environmental footprinting methodologies to either their products or on an organisational level using standards such as ISO 14044, ISO 14064, UKPAS 2050 and the GHG protocol.

Overall 15% of companies said they used environmental footprinting. Of these, 36% applied multiple methodologies to a single product; 44% did not; 11% did not know; and 8% did not respond.

The water industry has the highest application of environmental footprinting (43%), while the energy sector had the lowest (3%).


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