Firms falling short on international environment standard

2nd October 2014

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Nine in 10 firms have an environmental management system (EMS) that is not fit for purpose, according to research published today.

Manufacturers’ organisation EEF surveyed over 650 companies across a range of sectors ahead of changes to the ISO14001, the international standard for EMSs that is due to come into effect in 2015.

It found that many firms are falling short of the current version of 14001, which was introduced in 2004. The new standard puts an increased emphasis on leadership and commitment.

However, 42% report that senior management have little or no involvement in their current EMS; and eight in 10 respondents believe they will not have sufficient top-level support to meet the new requirements, the poll found.

Less than half of those polled said that their company was investing appropriately in its environmental performance and competence, despite the fact that 41% of those who have 14001 certification regard it as a critical part of their business strategy.

Just one in 10 reported that their EMS takes into account the complete lifecycle of their product or service from raw material extraction, transport, manufacturing, retailing and end use.

Greg Roberts, EMS expert at EEF, said that many businesses and senior management teams treated their EMS as a box-ticking exercise and are not making the most of the opportunities it can drive.

“Companies are facing new and difficult issues, such as the scarcity of resource and material supply, climate change and stakeholders who want more, demand more and know more,” he said.

“Implementing a well-designed, fully thought-through and completely integrated EMS can help firms tackle these issues, while grasping the very many opportunities that are there for the taking too.”

EEF has a free online gap analysis tool for companies to assess their EMS, available here.

In September, IEMA launched a course to prepare practitioners for the changes to the standard.

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