Here at the FIA, we like talking about third party certification of products and quality management systems. Personally though, I’m also a fan of the environment. And in business and industry it can be better protected from the effects of our activities through the use of certificated environmental management systems (EMSs).
What I really like about EMS standards such as ISO14001, is that they give people within organisations plenty of control to decide for themselves what their most important environmental impacts are. They are then able to make the changes to their organisation that will have the most benefit to the environment. For example, at the FIA, we need to get our office as ‘green’ as it can be first (for those that are interested, we’ve recently had LED light panels fitted to replace our old fluorescent tubes which will save us energy).
Then the biggest positive impact we could have is through communicating new developments in legislation or distributing best practice in environmental management throughout the fire industry. By influencing our members to manage their design of fire equipment, management of waste, and by better understanding the environmental impact of fire, we are able to get a much further reaching impact than making sure that everyone in the office is printing double-sided. (Although I am campaigning for everyone to do that too!)
So when you are considering meeting your legal requirements for disposing of waste, ask yourself if you’d be better off purchasing a product that will do less damage to the environment, or if you can use a UK manufacturer/supplier, or if the product is needed in the first place. Having an EMS gives you a process for asking these questions and managing your environmental risks in the most efficient way for your business.
As an aside, whilst I am obviously very keen on doing things to protect the environment for the environment’s sake, there are many other benefits to be gained such as money-saving and business improvements. With some careful tailoring you can make your EMS really useful to your business. Companies (including SMEs) have reported cost savings, process streamlining and efficiencies, increased business from more valuable clients, better internal communications and improved staff awareness of environmental issues to name but a few.
For more information about ISO14001 for fire companies, or if you would like some assistance setting up your EMS, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.