SMEs focus on environmental management to win customer trust
In an April 2021 survey, 62% of adults said that they view companies’ environmental behavior more importantly now than they did just a year earlier. The survey, conducted by the Priceless Planet Foundation polled over 25,000 adults in 24 countries. It found that the top three issues were reducing waste (37%), reducing air and water pollution (35%), and tackling plastic pollution in packaging and products (35%).
Facing increasing public concern, companies can no longer afford not to take environmental responsibility seriously. Those that do not actively promote responsible practices risk losing business to competitors with better – and higher-profile – sustainability credentials. To respond to consumer demands, businesses should adopt a comprehensive and systematic approach to environmental management in the form of an Environmental Management System.
What can an Environmental Management System do for you?
An ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) is a standardized approach outlining a set of processes and practices that enable an organization to reduce its environmental impacts. In practice, this means identifying the aspects of its operations that have an impact on the environment as well as legal requirements, and developing objectives and targets. Then it involves implementing processes, document procedures and training sessions to achieve targets and identified needs, such as writing a standard operating procedure for hazardous material disposal. The next step is to establish policies to measure environmental impact, perform audits and evaluate compliance. Finally, EMS performance must be consistently reviewed to ensure it is fit for purpose, and strategies must be updated if necessary. Taking a systematic approach to environmental management is vital in order to respond to rapidly changing requirements while ensuring transparency.
For small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the cost of implementing an EMS can seem like a big investment, but initial actions need not be too expensive or time-consuming. There are many small ways in which SMEs can begin their sustainability journey, such as minimizing their use of paper and stationery, improving their recycling program, and installing a smart meter to monitor energy use.
The advantages are myriad. Not only can companies achieve their environmental management objectives and increase efficiency, they can also reduce their costs in the long term. Plus, as green consumerism gains traction, a robust EMS can underpin a business’ value claims and contribute to inspiration for new product ideas.
Why certify to ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard?
ISO 14001 certification can help organizations increase operational control and better integrate environmental considerations into business strategy. The requirements of ISO 14001 emphasize proactive initiatives to boost environmental management performance, starting with a business-wide analysis of social and environmental impacts. The standard provides an EMS framework based on a Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology, and integrates the principles of the circular economy model.
Bureau Veritas provides full EMS support to SMEs
Bureau Veritas offers support for companies of all sizes – including SMEs – looking to implement an ISO 14001-compliant EMS. Our offer covers everything from training to audits and certification. Working with a trusted and experienced third-party to establish a certified EMS is crucial to achieve the reputational boost that a commitment to environmental action can offer. Demonstrating transparency and accountability enables companies to avoid all accusations of greenwashing while building trust and loyalty among stakeholders.
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