Environmental management is a major goal of organizations which they must fulfill to show that their business has minimal harmful impacts on the environment and its living beings. The ISO 14001 environmental management standard is the definite tool to achieve that goal. It is an international standard that not only provides guidelines for environmental management, but it also provides a structured framework for implementing the Environmental Management System (EMS). It is now globally used by organizations of all categories and sizes to monitor, assess, and check their negative impacts on the environment. How does the ISO 14001 EMS work to help businesses manage their impacts and improve environmental performance?

Top Ways an ISO 14001 Certified EMS Work to Enhance Environmental Performance

Even though the role of an EMS varies with the business context i.e., impacts and challenges in the environmental sphere, these are the few common things that it can do to improve the environmental performance of organizations.


Manages and Reduces Wastes

Every organization, whether its business is product-based or service-based, generates wastes. Starting from carbon dioxide or gaseous wastes to materials to electrical wastes, there are wide varieties of wastes that have a direct impact on the environment. An EMS helps in the management and reduction of all types of wastes generated in the business processes. It helps the organization’s management to assess the wastes and their impacts, classify them, and determine appropriate methods to treat each type of wastes. For instance, they adopt fuel-efficient machinery or use renewable energy sources to reduce carbon dioxide and other toxic gas emissions. They promote recycling and reusing of materials that are not used fully in production. The EMS helps in communicating all the steps or policies taken for waste reduction to the employees so that they are eagerly followed by everyone.

Maximize the Efficiency of Resources

Maximizing the efficiency of resources also results in the reduction of resource wastes and simultaneously, cost savings for the business. An EMS helps a business to have multiple uses out of their raw materials and that results in maximization of efficiency. It requires the management of the organization to develop practices that would save both resources and time: for instance, research and innovation of the product designs so that they need less materials, or dispatch of more products at a time to reduce procurement, delivery as well as storage costs. With an EMS, you start realizing resources are soon exhaustible and hence you look for more possibilities to reduce their wastes.

Minimization of Environmental Risks

Preventing environmental risks or hazards is the next critical role of the EMS. Without an EMS, it is difficult for organizations to determine the risks or hazards that can suddenly emerge due to any negligence or errors in the processes. An EMS helps to thoroughly track all the business processes to identify any process or activity that may damage the environment. It also helps to keep records of the risks and assess them in terms of their impacts. As a result, organizations can implement the measures or actions to mitigate them and prevent them from occurring again.

Promotes Sustainability

With every organization relying on natural resources, sustainability becomes an indispensable concept to ensure that they can thrive well in future. An EMS helps in introducing sustainability improvement programs in the organization with which they can reduce the use of resources as much as possible. For instance, if transportation is a major process in your business that requires heavy fleets of cars and excess petroleum, switching to hybrid cars (fuel-efficient) is an effective strategy. Secondly, if your business relies on vast documentation and still prints everything, going paperless with digital options is a much-needed step. Also, if your business is power-hungry and uses lots of electricity, using solar power, energy rating appliances and automated smart devices are essential to lower the energy consumption.


Needless to say, the ISO 14001 environmental management standard for the EMS helps organizations to strengthen their approach towards environmental safety with stringent measures and practices. While it is generally not easy to convince all employees of its importance and make them uniformly work to improve the environmental performance, implementing the standard helps in bringing uniformity in their role. With proper documentation of the EMS, training, and communication, you can successfully engage the employees and boost your business’s environmental performance. 

Author's Bio: 

Damon Anderson is the owner of a reputed ISO consultancy organization that works to help businesses in their ISO certification processes. He is a dedicated consultant for ISO 14001 environmental management standard and has led the ISO 14001 certification process in multiple companies. He is a writer too and likes to write about environmental management in businesses.

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