Environmental management systems
For many business owners, making the first step to creating a greener business is often as simple as switching to more efficient light bulbs. But where to from there?
An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a long-term solution that you can set in place to manage your current and future environmental impact. An EMS integrates environmental management into your business' daily operations, long term planning and other quality management systems. You can develop a simple plan for managing your EMS or a more comprehensive one that can be certified under the international standard ISO 14001.
There are a number of components in an EMS, including:
- identifying environmental impacts
- objectives and targets
- operational and emergency procedures
- responsibilities and reporting structure
- continual improvement.
Your business can benefit from implementing an EMS by making more efficient use of resources, making licences and permits easier to obtain and helping you meet your own environmental goals.
Having your Environmental Management System accredited
If you think you'll seek to have your EMS accredited, make sure you consider the following questions:
- Do your customers think having a certified EMS is important?
- Do your competitors have a certified EMS?
- Have your competitors benefited from being certified?
While an accredited EMS can give your business more recognition from your customers, if you are a small business it may take up a considerable amount of time and effort for you to implement.
Environmental Management Systems in your state and territory
Australian Capital Territory
- Visit the Department of the Environment and Sustainable Development's webpage on Environment protection legislation and policies.
- A guide to preparing an Environmental Management Plan (PDF 412KB) is also available on the Department of the Environment and Sustainable Development's website.
New South Wales
- Information on sustainability in business can be found on the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH) website.
- General information on Environmental protection and your business can also be found on the OEH website.
- The NT Department of Environment and Natural Resources provides information on the Environmental regulatory reform program.
- Information on waste & pollution and environmental assessments are provided on the NT Environment Protection Authority website.
- Visit the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection's Business sustainability webpage.
- The SA Environment Protection Authority (EPA) provides information on environmental management systems.
- Visit the Tasmanian Environmental Protection Agency website.
- The TAS Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment provides information on waste management and waste and recycling.
- Visit the VIC Environment Protection Authority (EPA)'s Environmental Management Systems webpage.
- Refer to the EPA Life Cycle Management website.
- Guidance statements for environmental protection policies can be found on the WA EPA website.
What to do...
- Learn how to develop an EMS in the Profiting from Environmental Improvement in Business information kit.
- Find out about Environmental management systems on the Department of the Environment website.
- Go to government statistics for statistical information to help you plan.
- Check out tools and resources that could help you.