Environmental Management Systems – Your A – Z guide

Schemes and Standards

There are three main recognised standards that have developed in the UK and internationally.

  • ISO 14001 – International Standard
    ISO 14001 is the international standard for EMSs which specifies the features and requirements necessary to help organisations systematically identify, evaluate, manage and improve the environmental impacts of their activities, products and services. In the UK this is currently the most widely used EMS standard

NOTE - The ISO 14000 series of standards provides a comprehensive set of tools available to companies to manage and improve their environmental performance.

  • EMAS - The EU Eco Management and Audit Scheme
    Voluntary EU wide scheme which focuses on legislative compliance and includes ISO 14001 as the requirement for the EMS component. Additional to ISO 14001, EMAS requires organisations to produce a public statement about their environmental performance. For a comparison of the key features of ISO 14001 and EMAS please see: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/emas/pdf/factsheet/fs_iso_en_low.pdf

  • BS 8555 – British Standard
    Providing a phased approach for organisations to achieve either ISO14001 or EMAS. Breaks down the implementation process into 6 discreet phases.

Note - The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) has developed the Acorn Inspection Scheme which enables companies to gain accredited inspection and recognition for their achievements at each step as they work towards ISO 14001 or EMAS. Acorn is particularly suited to small and medium sized businesses.

Further background and history to the above standards and schemes is available from respective bodies directly from IEMA and from a number of published articles www.iema.net/readingroom/show/283/c146

The above standards / schemes have developed closely and are now significantly complementary with organisations from all sectors and scales choosing the standard best suited to their needs

Last modified December 22, 2014 3:27:57 PM