Environmental management systems

An environmental management system (EMS) enables an organisation to identify, monitor and control the environmental aspects of its business. It is part of a company's overall management system.

A sound EMS helps a company to understand how its activities may affect the environment and to know what action to take to safely prevent and minimise impacts.

It should make employees accountable for their environmental performance.

Aside from compliance with industry standards and legal requirements, such systems also support the continuous improvement of efficiency in the use of resources, pollution prevention and reduction, and product stewardship. They do so for example by helping set measurable objectives and targets.

In short, an EMS provides a framework for managing compliance and identifying opportunities for improvement. ISO 14001 and EMAS (EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) are international environmental management standards to which manufacturing sites can be certified. Some companies favour suppliers with a certified EMS.