For the purposes of this blog, an environmental management system is a way to help you continually control the processes within your business, to either prevent, eliminate or reduce their impact on the environment.
When we say this, many people often think of the costs involved in audits, time to write procedures, and the costs of items such as spill kits.
So let’s now consider how an EMS can save or even make you money!
One of the main tasks you will need to complete within your environmental management system, will be to list all your processes, and determine what the environmental impact of each of these are, or could be if something unforeseen were to occur E.g. Oils/chemicals entering the drainage system as a result of a leak on site.
By determining the business’ environmental impacts and implementing actions to prevent these, your business could save money.
One of your environmental impacts may be a contribution to the global warming effect, as a result of using electricity as an energy source in your processes. Below are some ideas on how managing this environmental impact could save money.
Have you reviewed which equipment and/or lighting is left on out of hours?
Quite often, lights and equipment are left on overnight/during holiday periods. By simply ensuring these are turned off when not required by your business, you could save a significant amount of money.
Have you reviewed the equipment you bought since the company began?
With advances in technology there may be more energy efficient versions of the same equipment, that could significantly reduce your electricity consumption, hence reducing your electricity bills. In some cases, the amount of electricity the new equipment uses could be so low, that it could offset the cost of buying the equipment in just a few years. E.g. Have you switched to LED lighting?
Have you reviewed if the process that is using electricity is necessary? Could you eliminate this energy usage?
All these actions (and many more), could result in your energy consumption levels reducing below thresholds required by reporting compliance schemes. Hence saving you money even further!
The increased pressures on landfills as a result of waste produced from your business may be another environmental impact of your businesses processes. Below are more ideas on how managing this environmental impact could save your business money.
Have you reviewed if these wastes are segregated?
By segregating waste, you can ensure the waste is a higher quality, and as a result it will be more likely to be recycled. Many waste companies purchase good quality waste, and offer a collection service with rebates for good quality materials. E.g. You could investigate how much money you could receive by segregating good quality cardboard. By sorting at source, you could even reduce the sorting charges from the waste contractor.
Could this waste be eliminated from your processes?
Many businesses buy products in, repackage them, and then sell them on. Hence could the packaging that the product arrived in be reused elsewhere within your business? This could not only save you waste collection costs, but also the cost of purchasing packaging to use. Or could your waste even be a product that a different company could use in their processes?
You may have also determined that CO2 emissions to air as a result of deliveries are an environmental impact of your business.
Have you reviewed your deliveries to and from the business?
You may find that you are able to reduce the number of deliveries by placing more stock in one lorry. This in turn will reduce your transport costs. You could even review the mode of transport that the delivery is arriving from. E.g. Could your product be brought in by sea rather than air? This would again reduce your CO2 emissions, and reduce your delivery costs.
By analysing your processes I’m sure there are many more cost savings that can be found specific to your business. Depending on the size and running costs of your business, these changes can result in thousands of pounds being saved. Hence an EMS could even be making you a more profitable business.
Assent’s Environmental Consultants can help you analyse your business processes to identify and measure cost savings.