Do you run an environmental management system within your company, and find it difficult to get an active involvement from leadership?
Clause 5.1 Leadership, requires the business to demonstrate that leadership are committed to the environmental management system, and are accountable for it. However even with this requirement, it can be difficult to get top management to actively participate, make decisions and drive operation of the environmental management system. In short, getting leadership’s “buy in” can sometimes be a very difficult task, even though it is a requirement of the environmental standard ISO 14001:2015 itself.
So what can be done about this?
Maybe the way to tackle this is by looking at it from a different perspective. The ultimate goal of running a business is to make a profit. However, no matter how good a management team’s intentions are, or how much we want to do the right thing by the environment, it may feel that actually implementing measures to protect the environment will result in costs that are either unnecessary, or that the business cannot afford to take.
However as part of running a business, you do need to identify which environmental legislation applies to your business processes, and comply with them. Failure to determine and control these could result in large and unexpected fines, or even prosecutions. Hence even if the management team decides not to have an environmental management system, it is paramount that they understand which environmental legislation applies to the business, and what controls they must have in place.
An environmental management system is a good way to help you determine which legislation applies, and implement measures to control them continually. Remember, compliance to legislation is not a choice. It is a requirement that must be adhered to at all times.
An ISO 14001:2015 environmental management system demonstrates that the business has determined the environmental impacts of its processes, has implemented measures to control these, and is continually reviewing and improving upon these. Hence, it can help to make the business more attractive to potential customers. This in turn could help you to win more contracts. Businesses want to work with companies who care about the environment, and feel responsible to control their processes in order to protect it. This is because working with your business is also a reflection on them, and the business relationships they have made.
Avoid Negative Publicity
When failures are found within a business, it can result in negative media, which can reduce sales not just for the business, but also for the companies working with yours. This could simply be through negative media. Hence an ISO 14001:2015 environmental management system can also help to demonstrate that you are a lower risk business, as you have identified your environmental risks and are controlling them.
So the next time you feel you are struggling to get top management’s “buy in”, maybe consider these points when trying to help them understand the importance of the business’s environmental management system.
Assent’s expert environmental consultants can help you establish an environmental management system to the requirements of ISO 14001 and engage your top management by promoting the benefits and providing digestible data on environmental performance.
Not sure where to start? A Gap Analysis can help you determine the level of work required to achieve ISO 14001 Certification.