Agreement has been reached with the Acorn Trust for the IEMA to manage the proposed Scheme based on a new British Standard (BS 8555) when the project is completed in March 2003.

Project Acorn is a programme that focuses on helping companies improve their environmental performance through a number of initiatives including the phased implementation and recognition of an environmental management system that can lead to ISO 14001 and EMAS. The project will have over 100 companies engaged at least in one of the implementation phases when it is transferred to the IEMA in March 2003. BS 8555, the new standard currently out in draft form reflects much of the work carried out by the project.

The IEMA’s management role after March next year has the support of the Acorn Trustees, DEFRA, DTI and the Environment Agency. The Acorn initiative complements the Institute’s existing work and role as a centre of expertise on environmental management systems. Christopher Sheldon, the Chief Executive of the Acorn Trust welcomed this initiative, he said, "This development guarantees a healthy future for the Trust and its continuing work . Phased implementation and recognition of management systems has great long term potential and under IEMA's management I believe this potential will be realised".

Martin Baxter, who has taken the lead in the discussions for the IEMA, will describe the scheme in more detail, including its programme and aims, in the February 2003 issue of 'the environmentalist' magazine.