So what is an EMS? Put simply, it stands for Environmental Management System and it acts as a framework by which organisations can identify and manage their environmental impacts and enhance environmental performance. It is an instrument that can help reduce your environmental impact and deliver tangible benefits to your business and customers.

The most widely used EMS framework is ISO 14001, which has been successfully implemented in more than 300,000 businesses across 171 countries. From agriculture to wood products, construction to hospitality, finance to chemicals and IT, the breadth of industries benefitting from ISO 14001 is profound. And so to reason one.


It really doesn’t matter how big you are or what you do, you are almost certain to benefit from ISO 14001. Most organisations have an impact on the environment. Heating and cooling office space, powering plant and IT, disposing of waste and procurement are aspects common to most businesses. Addressing these aspects via setting objectives to reduce consumption will bring benefits in the form of reduced bills, whether you are a micro business operating out of a garage or a huge multinational with warehouses all over the UK.

“But I can do that without devoting time and resource to an EMS?” I hear you say. Well, let’s look at reason two.


You may already be the most environmentally conscious, shining example of sustainability. Never mind saving money, you’re actually making it from the solar panels on your roof. You’ve offset the remainder of your (now small) carbon footprint with one of the myriad offsetting schemes on the market. You’ve been zero to landfill for the last two years.

Why not capitalise on all that hard work and get the ISO 14001 certificate on the wall (and into your email signatures, on your website, marketing collateral….)? In a progressively more environmentally savvy world, ISO 14001 certification provides formal recognition for investors, clients, regulators etc. that you manage your environmental affairs in a responsible manner. It’s like a sheriff’s badge, it inspires confidence.

Equally, that might not be where you’re at. So, to reason three.


You know there is some law on managing asbestos but you’re not sure of the detail. You have several files of slips given to you by your waste contractor and intend to shred them to save space. You just had a call from the Environment Agency regarding heavy silt load in the watercourse downstream of your construction yard.

It’s a requirement of ISO 14001 that organisations are aware of legal obligations relevant to their operations. Understanding legal obligations can reduce the risk of prosecution for environmental offences, several of which now carry unlimited fines and prison time. It can also protect against reputational damage, primarily by preventing an offence in the first place but also through the ability to demonstrate best practice and good corporate citizenship in the event on an offence actually taking place.

Whatever stage you’re at, SMS’ experts can help you on your EMS journey. Contact us today!