How can my business improve environmental management?

12-Apr-2022

Did you know that, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), temperatures were around 1.09 °C higher than the 1850-1900 period from January to September 2021?

Did you also know that sea level rise has increased from an average of 2.1 mm a year between 1993 and 2000 to 4.4 mm a year between 2013 and 2021, mostly because of the loss of ice from glaciers and ice sheets?

These are just a couple of examples of the shocking statistics presented at COP26 in Glasgow, UK, last year and are part of a wider set of data that has stirred worldwide calls for stronger climate action, explains Jack Rosier, Marketing Executive, QMS International.

Awareness of the long-lasting results of our impact on the planet and the need for quick and significant change means that many people are now looking to businesses to step up their environmental management. In fact, according to business service provider, DWS, environmental awareness and management is now so important to people that up to 59% of businesses are losing out on work as a result of poor environmental, social and governance credentials.

And the need for green isn’t just coming from the public; things are shifting right at the top of UK society, too. The government has set out proposals such as the Net Zero Strategy and a wider Ten Point Plan for a Greener Industrial Revolution, putting more emphasis on what businesses in each sector can do to embrace the legal obligation for net zero emissions by 2050 — especially in sectors such as construction, manufacturing and engineering.

This again puts pressure on businesses to have a plan in place for improving their environmental management and meeting government-set targets. But what is environmental management? And how can your business improve?

What is environmental management?

Environmental management essentially refers the administration of our human impact on the environment. From the control of waste and pollution to the reduction of emissions, it encompasses everything human societies — and businesses within them — can do to monitor, maintain and manage our impact on the environment.

Knowing the importance of better environmental management, businesses all over the world are now looking to become more environmentally aware and better manage their carbon footprint. But how exactly can your business improve your environmental impact?

Six ways to improve your environmental management

Recycle: Although the amount of plastic being recycled in the UK is moving in the right direction — rising from 44% in 2018 to 50% in 2019 — there is still massive room for improvement. By ensuring that your business is recycling properly, you could reduce your carbon footprint, save money on landfill tax and create a positive, green workplace culture. Setting up a recycling scheme is simple.

All your organisation needs to do is find a suitable recycling waste management service and make employees aware of the new initiative.

Small changes: Sometimes the biggest impacts come from the smallest of changes. There are a number of minor, cheap changes that your organisation can implement to make a positive change to your carbon footprint, including

  • opt for ecofriendly office products
  • use cleaning supplies that do not contain harmful chemicals
  • choose food products with less packaging
  • go paperless
  • encourage carpooling
  • use local business solutions
  • use power saving modes on electronic devices
  • create monthly “green challenges.”

Choose green suppliers and partners: The first supplier you should examine is your energy supplier. If there are more green alternatives, you could consider switching. There is an increasing number of energy suppliers who generate power in a sustainable way. Some of these suppliers even guarantee to deliver 100% renewable energy.

Secondly, you should do your homework on all other suppliers your organisation uses. When possible, your business should try to partner up with other like-minded, ecoconscious companies. You can often find greener alternatives for things such as toilet paper, food, paper and deliveries.

And, on a larger scale, looking for green credentials for any contractors, suppliers and other businesses you partner with can help show that you’re taking your environmental management seriously.

Implement an environmental management system: An environmental management system (EMS) is a framework implemented by businesses to help them achieve their environmental goals. Through consistent reviews, evaluation and implemented improvements, businesses who adopt this framework should be able to reduce their environmental impact and increase operating efficiency.

As the most widely recognised certification of an EMS, thousands of businesses have turned to ISO 14001 to achieve better environmental management. ISO 14001 is the International Standard for environmental management systems.

It was designed by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and it assists businesses to identify and manage — and requires them to put controls in place to minimise — their environmental impact.

What are the benefits of getting your business ISO 14001 certified?

Ultimately, the main benefit of becoming an ISO 14001 certified organisation is to help you reduce your environmental impact. However, there are a number of further benefits, including

  • helping you to work towards legislative compliance
  • helping to gain staff commitment to the environment
  • helping to prevent waste, which in turn can save on costs
  • improving your brand reputation
  • building greater trust with your clients
  • encourages suppliers to reduce their environmental impact to win contracts for those companies committed to the ISO 14001 standard.

ISO 14001 can be achieved by any organisation, regardless of its size and type. It requires continual improvement of an organisation’s approach and management system to the environmental standard. Going forward, it could give you the framework you need to improve your environmental management and prove your green credentials to employees, clients, suppliers, contractors and other businesses.

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