Climate change, pollution, single use plastics and mass protests in the capital city, in today’s world, the signs that we need to do more for the environment have never been clearer! As a society, our awareness of the human impact on our planet has grown substantially; raising some serious concerns and causing a vast shift in attitudes towards the environment.
Why Go Green?
Individually, people across the globe have started making changes and taking small steps to reduce their own impact but, whilst it’s widely accepted that individual actions are important, it is the actions of governments, corporations and other businesses that will make the biggest difference. In this blog we discuss how can we make significant changes as an organisation…
As an organisation, environmental management systems (EMS) are available to help set up the processes and procedures required to ensure that environmental impacts are managed, monitored and continually improved upon. ISO.14001 is the international standard for an EMS and is one of the most popular standards to hold. It can be applied to any industry and provides assurance to clients and all interested parties that the organisation is dedicated to managing and reducing their environmental impact.
With this in mind, the Water Hygiene Centre decided it was our responsibility as an ethical company to commit resources to our EMS and achieve certification to the ISO.14001 standard. After working closely with BSI and the Water Hygiene Centre team for several months, we achieved our certification on 8th of May 2019!
Challenges and Benefits
As an independent water hygiene consultancy, the main challenge we faced when implementing ISO.14001 was to find ways to reduce the impact from our services. All Water Hygiene Centre staff were involved in brainstorming ideas and thinking of creative ways to reduce our impact, including:
- The offering of electronic versions of documents to reduce printing;
- Charitable donations to environmental causes;
- Including environmental aspects into our consultation with clients;
- Eco-design heating and cooling for the office;
- New palm oil free and eco-friendly cleaning supplies;
- A worm farm for our food waste!
Furthermore, with our head office located on a historic Oxfordshire country estate, we have some furry winged guests roosting in the roof space and so we also sought advice from the Bat Conservation Trust to ensure we were doing all we could to protect the safety of their habitat. With ideas flowing, the entire team became fully invested in ways to help our environment, and still regularly produce suggestions for continual improvement. It is safe to say the structure of our EMS has created a fantastic internal culture for all staff at the Water Hygiene Centre.
As well as the environmental benefits to having a certified EMS, the more peripheral benefits became apparent immediately, and we were able to pass on many of these to our clients. Benefits to the Water Hygiene Centre and our client base include:
For some businesses, the reduction in operational costs and passing this on to clients may stand out as much as the environmental impact reduction! These clear and tangible benefits demonstrate just how positive a working EMS can be for business growth as well as the environment. In this current climate, it can no doubt sometimes be hard to motivate ourselves to undertake these small incremental changes but with growing awareness, the current shift in the global culture and a few small steps taken at home and at work, we can gradually start to see some improvement.
Due to the success of the Water Hygiene Centre certifying its EMS with BSI, the future of our company will forever dedicate itself to the environment, and hopefully be able to continually improve and reduce our impact over the decades to come. How does your organisation feature in the environment, could you benefit and grow the business with an EMS in place? One thing is for sure, we are all affected by the environment around us and even those places we cannot see, and it is our responsibility to start making these changes for ourselves and our future generations.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead.
Editors Note: The information provided in this blog is correct at date of original publication - May 2019.
© Water Hygiene Centre 2019