environmental management systems (EMS)
Obtaining certification to an environmental management system such as ISO 14001 or the EC Eco-Management and Auditing Scheme (EMAS) is an obvious first step for companies seeking to demonstrate a commitment to reducing their environmental impact.
Uptake since launch indicates that companies are keen to voluntarily manage their environmental impacts as neither scheme is currently mandatory. Nearly 3,000 sites across the EC are now registered under EMAS, and more than three times as many are certified to ISO 14001. The desire for a better public image appears to have been a primary motive for many companies to adopt an EMS, and by publicising an EMS initiative a company's market position is often strengthened further.
There are differences in the standards, it is thought that EMAS is a more stringent standard, and is preferred by the Environment Agency. A recent study of 200 Swedish companies found that companies who opted for EMAS achieved 80% of their emission or resource reduction targets, but those that chose ISO 14001 met only 58%. EMAS' requirement for firms to regularly report performance is most likely responsible for this difference.
Choice of standard will be dictated by different factors, the following links provide more information: