Environmental Management Systems – Your A – Z guide


Organisations may decide to have an external body confirm that their EMS meets the requirements of standards such as ISO 14001. This process is known as certification.

Certification is not mandatory and ISO 14001 does allow organisations to self-certify that they have met all of the requirements of the standard. However, there are a number of benefits that can be gained by having the EMS externally certified - http://www.iema.net/ems/index.php/certificationbenefits

Certification of a management system provides independent demonstration that the management system of the organisation:

  1. Conforms to specified requirements
  2. is capable of consistently achieving its stated policy and objectives, and
  3. is effectively implemented


Within the Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) the assessment (audit) is carried out by an environmental verifier to ensure that an organisation’s environmental policy, management system and audit procedure(s) conform to the requirements of Regulation (EC) No761/2001. This process includes visiting the organisation, examining documents/records, and interviewing personnel.

Further assessment is carried out by the environmental verifier to check that the information and data within the organisation’s environmental statement is reliable, credible and correct and meets the requirements set out in Annex III 3.2 (this is referred to as validation)


Within BS8555 / Acorn, a system of independent inspection is central to providing recognition that an organisation has met the requirements of a particular Phase and continues to improve its environmental performance.