Manchester City Council

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Business & investment Environmental management systems (EMS)

Introduction to EMS

An environmental management system (EMS) really can help your business, as many companies now actively seek suppliers with a strong environmental performance record. An EMS can provide your business with a practical tool to help you to:

  • understand and describe the impacts on the environment from your business activities;
  • comply with legislation;
  • continually improve environmental performance in a systematic way;
  • save money by reducing waste or saving energy; and
  • improve and raise the profile of your corporate image.

We have worked with businesses in Manchester to help them understand and improve their environmental performance and assist them with implementing Phase 1 of the British Standard BS 8555:2003 - 'Environmental management systems - Guide to the phased implementation of an environmental management system including the use of environmental performance evaluation'.

BS 8555 is based on the ISO 14001 EMS standard, but uses a more flexible, phased approach to implementation. There are six phases in the standard with accreditation for each phase, so it provides a staged approach tailored to the needs and size of the business. For further information refer to IEMA's Acorn Scheme or Tarian's Seren Scheme (external links).

What you can do - first steps

You need to work out which of your business activities have an impact on the environment and prioritise them, by conducting an initial environmental review or baseline assessment.  The review will include such activities as energy use, transportation costs and waste materials. The review also needs to consider the environmental history of your site. 

What we can do

We can offer advice for getting started on an EMS and help you understand the process and prioritise the environmental impacts of your businesses activities. The environmental history of your site can also be established through interpretation of historical maps and records that we hold, though there may be a charge for this environmental information. We have also developed tools that are useful for implementing an EMS, these are available on request to your organisation.

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