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  • 1. ISO 14001, EMAS, OR BS 8555: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FOR UK BUSINESSES By Bo Chen Thesis presented in part-fulfilment of the degree of Master of Science in accordance with the regulations of the University of East Anglia School of Environmental Sciences University of East Anglia University Plain Norwich NR4 7TJ August 2004 © 2004 Bo Chen This copy of the dissertation has been supplied on condition that anyone who consults it is understood to recognize that its copyright rests with the author and that no quotation from the dissertation, nor any information derived therefrom, may be published without the author’s prior written consent. Moreover, it is supplied on the understanding that it represents an internal University document and that neither the University nor the author are responsible for the factual or interpretative correctness of the dissertation.
  • 2. Contents List of Figures Ⅰ List of Tables Ⅱ Abstract Ⅲ Acknowledgements Ⅳ 1. Introduction 1 2. Literature Review 2.1 Business and the Environment 2.1.1 Identification of Business 3 2.1.2 Environmental Impacts of Different Businesses 4 2.1.3 Strategy towards environmental impact 5 2.2 Environmental Management Systems 2.2.1 Environmental Management Systems 6 2.2.2 Stages of Standardized EMS 8 2.2.3 Why develop an EMS 10 2.3 ISO 14001 2.3.1 Background information of ISO 14001 11 2.3.2 Stages for implementing ISO 14001 12 2.3.3 Current situation of ISO 14001 14 2.4 EMAS 2.4.1 Background information of EMAS 15 2.4.2 Stages for implementing EMAS 16 2.4.3 Current situation of EMAS 18 2.5 BS 8555 2.5.1 Background information of BS 8555 18 2.5.2 Structure of BS 8555 19 2.5.3 The use of BS8555 22
  • 3. 2.6 The UK business 2.6.1 General information of the UK businesses 23 2.6.2 EMS implementation in SMEs 25 2.6.3 Drivers and Barriers of EMS implementation in SMEs 26 3. Methodology 3.1 Introduction 28 3.2 Criteria of suitable EMS 29 3.3 the most suitable EMS 32 4. Results 4.1 Easy to start implementation 33 4.2 Costs are relatively lower 34 4.3 Benefits are relatively higher 35 4.4 Environmental performance are continuously improved 36 4.5 Legal compliance 38 4.6 Implementation is easy to control 39 4.7 Easy to get assistance 40 4.8 Good recognition system 42 4.9 Other criteria 43 5. Discussion 5.1 Comparison results 45 5.1.1 Characteristics of ISO 14001 45 5.1.2 Characteristics of EMAS 47 5.1.3 Characteristics of BS 8555 48 5.2 ISO 14001, EMAS or BS 8555? 50 5.3 Gap analysis and further study recommendation 51 6. Conclusion 52 References 54
  • 4. List of Figures Figure 2.1: Cycle of continual improvement 8 Figure 2.2: Stages of a typical environmental management system 9 Figure 2.3: Five steps of ISO 14001 14 Figure 2.4: Seven stages of phase 1 in BS 8555 20 Figure 2.5: overall process for phased implementation 21 Figure 2.6: Share of enterprises, employment and turnover by size of enterprise, UK 24 Figure 2.7: VAT registered businesses by industry sector, per cent, UK 25 Figure 3.1: Process of methodology 32
  • 5. List of Tables Table 2.1: Benefits of improved environmental management 10 Table 2.2 Stakeholders of SMEs 27 Table 3.1: Criteria of suitable EMS 29 Table 4.1: Comparison on easy to start implementation 33 Table 4.2: Comparison on costs 34 Table 4.3: Comparison on implementation benefits 35 Table 4.4: Comparison on environmental performance continual improvement 36 Table 4.5: Comparison on legal compliance 38 Table 4.6: Comparison on the control of implementation process 39 Table 4.7: Comparison on assistance 40 Table 4.8: Comparison on recognition system 42 Table 4.9: Comparison on other criteria 43
  • 6. Abstract The number of companies certified an Environmental Management System (EMS) in the UK is continuously increased in the last few years. Most of the participants choose the international standard ISO 14001 or the EU regulation EMAS as their EMS. However, with the appearance of the new British standard - BS8555, UK businesses need to think about which one of these three EMSs is most applicable. Ten criteria have been created in order to identify the most applicable EMS for UK businesses. These criteria include the costs and benefits of the EMS implementation, whether it is easy to start for companies and easy to be control during the implementation process, legal compliance, environmental performance evaluation, and compatibility of the EMS etc. Through the comparison between three EMSs, advantages and disadvantages of each EMS were defined. Simply EMAS is more difficult for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) to implement. ISO 14001 is relatively easier to implement but it has fewer requirements and may cause potential problem in the implementation process. The BS 8555 combines some of the advantages from the other two EMSs and with its staged approach makes the SMEs easier to start implementing and finally achieve ISO 14001 certification or the EMAS registration.
  • 7. Acknowledgements I would like to thank my parents for their financial support to my study. Thanks to my girl friend Xiyun Zhi for her encourage throughout the year. Special thanks to Jon Gurr my supervisor for his persistent advice and supports.
  • 8. 1. Introduction Environmental management system (EMS) is one of the most important tools available for the purpose of making the organisations more environmentally proactive and efficient (Emilsson, 2002). Through the establishing of an EMS, the company can demonstrate to clients and the public that they take environmental impacts seriously. In addition, an efficient EMS also can improve company’s operation process and brings economic benefits. Nowadays more and more companies have realized the importance of the EMS and engaged in the EMS implementation practice. Since the first EMS standard (BS 7750) developed by the British Standard Institute (BSI) in 1992, different countries and organisations have developed their own EMSs. Among them, probably the most famous two are the international standard ISO 14001 developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the EU regulation the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). Many of the UK companies have certified their EMS under these two systems, and many others are planning to do so. However, in 2003 the BSI published their new British standard - BS 8555, which provides a staged approach for the UK businesses especially the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) to implement the EMS. This new standard brings the UK businesses a new choice. The purpose of this study was to identify which one of these three EMSs (i.e. ISO 14001, EMAS, and BS 8555) is more applicable for most of the UK businesses. It is important that EMS participants have a clear understanding which EMS can meets their demands. Choosing the right EMS can not only save the implementation costs, avoid the troubles, but also get satisfactory implementation results. On the contrary, unsuitable EMS causes difficulties during the implementation and even leads fail achieving the implementation aims.
  • 9. In order to identify the most applicable EMS, each of the EMSs as well as their relevant literatures was examined in the literature review chapter. In addition, the characteristics of the UK businesses also were examined in that chapter. Followed with methodology chapter in which ten criteria for the most suitable EMS have been created. In the results chapter the advantages and disadvantages of each EMS were identified through a contrastive method based on the criteria. Finally, based on the characteristic of the UK businesses, the most applicable was identified in the discussion chapter.
  • 10. 2. Literature Review 2.1 Business and the Environment 2.1.1 Identification of Business Business has experienced dramatic change since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution which took place in Western Europe two hundred years ago (Blair, 2001). New businesses appeared such as chemical industry, motor industry, and retail industry; new technology was applied in everywhere; and new market was opened all over the world. All these changes of business area caused environmental impacts which totally different from two hundred years ago. In order to discuss the environmental impact of business we have to answer a basic question: what is business nowadays? Strictly speaking, business is the range of commercial organizations and their activities that characterize the way in which trading is conducted in a capitalist economy (Blair, 2001). However, commonly the words “industry” and “business” are used interchangeably and this is the case in this article. Business with the same meaning of industry which is seen as the collection of firms who operate essentially the same series of processes that result in a related set of products (whether tangible products or services) that a third party wishes to buy (Blair, 2001). By convention, industries are divided into primary, secondary and tertiary industries. Primary industries include fishing, forestry, agriculture and the extractive industries (essentially, the quarrying and mining of minerals). They involve the collection, harvesting and exploitation of resources directly produced by physical processes. Secondary industries are the manufacturing industries. They take raw materials and by a variety of processes produce tangible goods by adding value to the raw materials.
  • 11. The tertiary industries produce services, for either individuals or for other organizations. The way in which primary, secondary and tertiary industries effect the environment are seen as being sufficiently different to warrant separate analysis. 2.1.2 Environmental Impacts of Different Businesses The environmental impacts of different industrial sectors vary enormously (Welford, 1998). For example, the oil industry may cause serious environmental impacts while the retail industry has less direct impacts to the environment. This is because the oil industry belongs primary industries while retail industry belongs tertiary industries and the characteristics of these two industrial categories are totally different. Because of their intimate relationship with the environment, the primary industries have a widespread and significant environmental impact. Firstly, they cause high pollution. For example, oil and gas flares, which happened in oil industry, contribute to global warming. Additionally, oil spills can cause great localized harm to marine ecosystems. Secondly, the primary industries generate considerable wastes. The fossil fuel and mining industries are the main culprits in waste generation. However, the wastes of factory farming also should not be neglected. Thirdly, farming and forestry of the primary industries have the greatest overall impact on habitats because they occupy the greatest areas of land. The type of farming or forest has a profound influence on the nature of flora and fauna of a region. Finally, farming and forestry also has significant landscape impacts because they form important landscapes in much of the developed world. Manufacturing is the core of the secondary industries. Raw materials and components are brought together and manufactured into either end product or a component for some other manufacturing process. Manufacturing processes consume huge amount of energy and inevitably produce waste products and pollution. Waste is seen as part of the process, whereas pollution is seen as an inevitable consequence of the process that
  • 12. should not happen in the perfect industrial process but which, in practice, results in the degradation of some physical resource. This is most usually the air, watercourses or the ground. Sound and visual impact may also be included under the broad banner of pollution. In addition to the manufacture process, the products itself also cause environmental impact during its delivery, use and disposal. Tertiary industries or so-called service businesses received relatively little attention on their environmental impacts. This may be because in comparison to primary or secondary industries they appear to depend far less on physical resources and they often deal with a more intangible product. However, the environmental impact of tertiary industries is less obvious but does not mean that it does not exist. For example, compared to an oil refinery, a supermarket seems to be much less environmental impact but it is not without impact. The transfer of goods within the supermarket chain, and the customers travel to the store especially those suburban stores all cause air pollution. Other environmental impacts which tertiary industries cause include energy consumption in heating, lighting and equipment, pollution through the travel of their employees and clients, produce waste from canteens, consume waster and materials and certainly produce large volumes of paper waste. 2.1.3 Strategy towards environmental impact Since the 1960s, there has been a growing interest in the environment, or more specifically in the damage being done to the environment (Welford, 1998). During the first two decades, it was felt that growth and development and protection of the environment could not go hand in hand. Hence most of the theories that developed during this period were anti-growth. However, the 1980s witnessed a shift in thinking. The concept of ‘zero growth’ was replaced by sustainable development which has been broadly accepted nowadays. Sustainable development, in its simplest form, is defined as development that meets
  • 13. the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987). It implies that it is possible to make development and environmental protection compatible. However, the old ways of development which cause pollution and atmospheric damage, disrupts traditional ways of living, destroys ecosystems and feeds more and more power into international oligopolistic industrial structures must be changed into sustainable ways (Welford, 1998). The Brundtland Report, commissioned by the United Nations to examine long-term environmental strategies, argued that this would require quite radical changes in economic practices throughout the world. As an ultimate objective, the concept of sustainable development is immensely valuable. However, strategies are needed to translate conceptual theories of what sustainable development means into practical ways of achieving it over time within the corporate context. Firms clearly have a role to play in the development of substitutes for non-renewable resources and innovations which reduce waste and use energy more efficiently. They also have a role in processing those materials in a way which brings about environmental improvements. Additionally, Firms have the opportunity for considering both the use and disposal of the product during the design period. In order to achieve these goals, companies must seek to develop management strategies which will improve their environmental performance (Welford, 1998). 2.2 Environmental management systems 2.2.1 Environmental management systems Many companies have adopted environmental policies and carried out environmental audits or reviews in response to legislative pressures, green marketing opportunities, increased public pressure, ethical concerns and the commitment of local and central government (Netherwood, 1998). However, companies still be faced with a problem
  • 14. of finding a systematic way of implementing commitments to environmental management within their existing organizational structure. In practical, one tool which companies have generally accepted to facilitate implementation of environmental policy is an environmental management system (EMS). An EMS is defined by the British Standards Institute (BSI) as: the organizational structure, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources for determining and implementing environmental policy (Netherwood, 1998). Similar definitions are found in the EU eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS) and ISO 14001. Not like legislation, EMS is a voluntary tool which can help companies to control environmental impact caused by their operations (Roberts, 1998). Despite the fact that different companies may develop different environment management system, usually there are some common steps can be found in these EMSs. This is because most of them were designed based on the steps of quality management system such as ISO 9000 (Netherwood, 1998). Therefore, it is possible to create a standard for environmental management systems in order to ensure a certain quality for the EMS, and to encourage organizations to improve their environmental performance. In the last few years a number of voluntary environmental management schemes have been developed. The standard-BS 7750- was published by BSI in March 1992 and was the world’s first environmental management system standard. At the same time that BSI began work on BS 7750, the European Commission was setting out its proposal for an eco-audit scheme and it was from this proposal that EMAS eventually emerged in 1993. In the same year of EMAS publishing, the activity relating to environmental management system standardization began on the international scene. And after a development time of a little under three years, ISO 14000 series were published in October 1996.
  • 15. The standardized environmental management systems are voluntary and are designed to be externally verified by nationally accredited bodies, in a similar way as the quality standard ISO 9000. It is argued that companies which register with the schemes, gaining the EMAS and ISO14001 accreditation, will experience added value such as market advantages, and legal compliance (Netherwood, 1998). 2.2.2 Stages of Standardized EMS Environmental management systems are very much related to quality management systems. They are mechanisms that provide for a systematic and cyclical process of continual improvement. As can be seen in Figure 2.1, the cycle itself begins with planning for a desired outcome (i.e. improved environmental performance), implementing that plan, checking to see if the plan is working and finally correcting and improving the plan based on observations form the checking process. Logically then, if the original outcome desired remains the same, a system of this nature will, by default, generate increments of progress that continually move toward the desired outcome (Roberts, 1998). Plan Act Continual Improvement Do Check Figure 2.1: Cycle of continual improvement Source: Roberts, 1998 In order for an company to achieve environmental performance through a management loop as mentioned above, it will need to define responsibilities for environmental management, deploy resources to ensure that action is taken on
  • 16. environmental issues, train staff to become aware of their environmental responsibilities, monitor environmental performance and audit and review the system of achieving environmental improvement. The basis of all of this activity is an organizational commitment to continual environmental improvement and an environmental policy (Netherwood, 1998). The stages of a typical environmental management system were shown in Figure2.2. Organizational commitment to environmental management Adoption of an environmental policy Review/audit of environmental effects Revision of environmental policy Implementation of environmental training programme Allocation of environmental responsibility Setting of environmental objectives and targets Development of action plan to achieve environmental objectives and targets Operational control Audit of performance in relation to targets Audit of the effectiveness of the management programme Review of the management system Corrective action Report environmental performance internally and externally Figure2.2: Stages of a typical environmental management system Source: Netherwood, 1998
  • 17. 2.2.3 Why develop an EMS? Develop an EMS within a company will definitely cost resources such as time, human resource, and money (Bansal, 2002). Such costs become more apparent when a company applies certification for their EMS. Furthermore, it has been suggested that EMS and the standards will just add another layer of bureaucracy for the company. So why do a company need an environmental management system? The answer is creating a successful EMS could bring more benefits than the costs. The advantages of improved environmental management can be divided into two broad categories (Roberts, 1998). The first category addresses the fact that improved environmental management is good for our planet and a fundamental requirement of global sustainability. This is because respecting that present business patterns are fundamentally unsustainable, improved environmental management will serve at least to move our business patterns towards sustainability. The second category, which seems have a more direct relationship with companies, addresses the fact that improved environmental management could benefit the company a lot. The table 2.1 lists some of the benefits. 1.Save company’s costs. 2.Environmental targets not just set but met. 3.Procedures in place to ensure legislative compliance. 4.Improved public image and increased market opportunities. 5.Viewed more favourably by the regulator and the financial sector. Table 2.1: Benefits of improved environmental management Source: Roberts, 1998
  • 18. 2.3 ISO 14001 2.3.1 Background information of ISO 14001 ISO 14000 is a series of international standards for environmental management. In order to satisfy the increasing demand of establishing international environmental management standard, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) started to develop it in 1993 and after nearly three year’s development, ISO published this series of standards (ISO 14001 and ISO 14004) in October 1996. It is the first such series of standards that allows organizations from around the world to pursue environmental efforts and measure performance according to internationally accepted criteria (Roberts, 1998). The 14000series consists of over a dozen separate standards. But all these standards are fallen under two categories: specification standards and guidance standards (Krut, 1998). ISO specification standards are prescriptive documents: they describe what a company must do or not do in order to get certification. ISO 14001 is a blueprint for the company’s environmental management system, and it is the only specification standard in the ISO 14000 series. It describes how a company might manage and control its organizational system so that it measures, controls and continually improves the environmental aspects of its operations (Krut, 1998). ISO 14001 is intended to be applicable to ‘all types and sizes of organizations and to accommodate diverse geographical, cultural and social conditions’ (ISO, 1996). The overall aim of both ISO 14001 and the other standards in the 14000 series is to support environmental protection and the prevention of pollution in harmony with socio-economic needs. ISO 14001 applies to any organization that wishes to improve and demonstrate its environmental performance to others through the presence of a certified environmental management system (Roberts, 1998).
  • 19. With the exception of requiring the commitment to continual improvement and commitment to comply with relevant legislation and regulation, ISO 14001 does not prescribe environmental performance requirements. ISO 14001 specifies the requirements of the management system itself, which, if maintained properly, will improvement environmental performance by reducing impacts such as air emissions and wastewater effluents (Roberts, 1998). 2.3.2 Stages for implementing ISO 14001 The elements of ISO 14001 are organized around five steps (Welford, 1998): 1. Environmental policy 2. Planning 3. Implementation and operation 4. Checking and corrective action 5. Management review Each step is briefly described below. Environmental policy Environmental policy is a formal and documented set of principles and intentions with respect to the environment. Essentially, the environmental policy is the guiding document for corporate environmental improvement and adherence to it is fundamental to the integrity and success of the entire EMS (Roberts, 1998). A policy must contain commitments to: * Continual improvement; * Prevention of pollution; and * Complying with relevant environmental legislation and other relevant requirements.
  • 20. Planning The company must then set itself objectives and targets relating to its three policy commitments and devise a plan to meet these objectives and targets. Here the environmental objectives are the broad goals that your organization sets in order to improve environmental performance while environmental targets are set performance measurements that must be met to realize a given objective. All environmental objectives must have at least one target (usually more) and all targets must relate directly to a stated objective (Roberts, 1998). Implementation and operation Having devised its plan, the organization must then put in place the various elements necessary for its successful implementation and operation. Checking and corrective action Having implemented its plan, the organization must then check to see whether it has been successful in meeting its objectives and targets. If any have not been met, then corrective action must be taken. The entire management system must be periodically audited to see that it meets the requirements of the standard (Welford, 1998). Management review Management must periodically review the system to ensure its continuing effectiveness and suitability. Changes are made to the system as and when necessary. The figure 2.3 shows the five steps of ISO 14001
  • 21. Continual Improvement Environmental Policy Management Review Planning Implementation Checking and and Operation Corrective Action Figure2.3: Five steps of ISO 14001 Source: BS EN ISO 14001, 1996 2.3.3 Current situation of ISO 14001 ISO 14001 is a specification standard, i.e. it consists of a set of requirements for establishing and maintaining an environmental management system. By complying with these requirements an organization can demonstrate to the outside world that is has an appropriate and effective management system in place. One way in which a company can demonstrate that is by ‘self-declaration’. This means that the company checks its own compliance with the requirements. However, a company may feel that it carries more weight with the outside world if its compliance with the requirements of ISO 14001 is checked by an independent third party. This third checking is known as ‘certification’ (Welford, 1998). Up to the end of 2002, at least 49,462 ISO 14001 certificates had been issued in 118 countries, an increase of 12,697 certificates (+ 34,54%) over the end of 2001 when the total stood at 36,765 in 112 countries (ISO, 2004). Another survey shows the increase of this number is continuous in the next year. Up to December of 2003, there are
  • 22. 61,287 certificates had been issued around the world, an increase of 11,825 certificates can be seen in that year (ISO world, 2004). The accreditation body in the UK is the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), which is recognized by the UK government as the national body for providing national accreditation of certification bodies and of measurement and sampling. 2.4 EMAS 2.4.1 Background information of EMAS EMAS - the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, is a voluntary initiative designed for companies and other organizations to evaluate, report, and improve their environmental performance. It should be highlight that EMAS is a European Union Regulation, which applied within the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA) — Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. An increasing number of candidate countries are also implementing the scheme in preparation for their accession to the EU (EMAS, 2004). The scheme has been available for participation by companies since 1995 (Council Regulation (EEC) No 1836/93 of 29 June 1993) and was originally restricted to companies in industrial sectors. The aim of EMAS is to recognize and reward those organizations that go beyond minimum legal compliance and continuously improve their environmental performance (EMAS-UK, 2004). In addition, it is a requirement of the scheme that participating organizations regularly produce a public environmental statement that reports on their environmental performance. It is this voluntary publication of environmental information, whose accuracy and reliability has been independently checked by an environmental verifier, that gives EMAS and those organizations that participate enhanced credibility and recognition.
  • 23. In June 1997 The Commission undertook a 5-year review of EMAS, taking into account experience gained during its operation. The final revised Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 761/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 March 2001) published in April 2001, is often referred to as EMAS II. This new Regulation has been open to all economic sectors including public and private services. In addition, EMAS II was strengthened by the integration of EN/ISO 14001 as the environmental management system required by EMAS; by adopting an attractive EMAS logo to signal EMAS registration to the outside world; and by considering more strongly indirect effects such as those related to financial services or administrative and planning decisions. 2.4.2 Stages for implementing EMAS The objective of EMAS shall be to promote continual improvements in the environmental performance of organizations by (EMAS, 2001): (a) The establishment and implementation of environmental management systems by organizations as described in Annex I (b) The systematic, objective and periodic evaluation of the performance of such systems as described in Annex I (c) The provision of information on environmental performance and an open dialogue with the public and other interested parties (d) The active involvement of employees in the organization and appropriate initial and advanced training that makes active participation in the tasks referred to under (a) possible. Where they so request, any employee representatives shall also be involved. In order to get the EMAS registration an organization should go through the following steps (EMAS, 2004): 1. Conduct an environmental review
  • 24. Consider all environmental impacts of the organization’s activities: production processes, products and services, assessment methods, the legal framework as well as existing environmental management practices and procedures. 2. Establish an environmental management system (EMS) Based upon the results of the environmental review, establish an effective environmental management system aimed at achieving the organization’s environmental policy as defined by the top management. The management system needs to define responsibilities, objectives, means, operational procedures, training needs, monitoring and communication systems. 3. Carry out an environmental audit Assess the management system in place and the organization’s environmental performance in light of the organization’s environmental policy and programme as well as of legal requirements. 4. Prepare an environmental statement The environmental statement should specify the results that have been achieved against the environmental objectives of the organization. It should also lay down the means by which the organization plans to continuously improve its environmental performance. 5. Get independent verification by an EMAS verifier An EMAS verifier accredited with an EMAS Accreditation Body (UKAS in UK) of a Member State must examine and verify the environmental review, EMS, and audit procedure as well as the environmental statement. 6. Register with the Competent Body of the Member State The validated environmental statement must be sent to the appropriate EMAS Competent Body for registration and be made publicly available.
  • 25. 2.4.3 Current situation of EMAS The number of companies registered under EMAS is far less than ISO 14001 certifications in UK. Until May 2003, 78 companies have achieved EMAS registration (ENDS Report 342, 2003). EMAS goes one step further than ISO 14001. The most visible difference is the need under these regulations for organizations to make public available for their environmental policy, objectives and targets and also their performance against the targets. Each member state appoints its competent body, which for the UK is the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (EEDA, 2004). 2.5. British Standard BS 8555 2.5.1 Background information of BS 8555 BS 8555 (Environmental management systems - Guide to the phased implementation of an environmental management system including the use of environmental performance evaluation) is a new British standard published by the British Standard Institute (BSI) in April 2003. The aim of BS 8555 is to provide guidance to all type of companies but particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to achieve externally certified environmental management systems using a phased rather than all-or-nothing approach to implementation (ENDS 340, 2003). This new standard is drafted based on a three-years’ project- the Acorn Trust's supply chain project. Project Acorn was a UK based nation-wide project to help SMEs to grow and develop their own environmental performance controls, built around the specific needs of their own business. The project ran between 2001 - 2003 and spent the time producing and refining a six-stage model that could ultimately take a company towards ISO 14001 certification or EMAS if they wished (The Acorn Trust, 2004).
  • 26. Acorn relies on larger quot;mentorquot; companies to introduce their suppliers to the scheme. The project's website identifies 14 organisations which are now pursuing the Acorn approach in their supply chains. They range across sectors including finance, utilities, manufacturing, retail and telecoms. The scheme offers a five-level approach to implementing an environmental management system compatible with the international standard ISO14001, and a sixth level compatible with European standard EMAS (ENDS 337,2003). An important outcome of the project - a new standard, BS 8555 - is released by the British Standards Institution in April 2003. The standard takes the form of guidance towards achieving ISO14001 or EMAS. It is not a certifiable specification in itself. However, the accreditation service UKAS is understood to be considering some form of recognition (ENDS 337,2003). 2.5.2 Structure of BS 8555 The phased EMS implementation approach used by BS 8555 and piloted through Project Acorn breaks down the process of installing a formal EMS into five levels. A sixth level allows organisations to develop systems, with the possibility of seeking recognition against the internationally accepted EMS standard, ISO 14001, or registering under the European EMAS Regulation. The phased process is designed around a generic environmental management system, but also in line with ISO 14001 and EMAS. In addition it is one of the aims of the guidance in the standard to develop environmental performance indicators (EPIs) to reflect the environmental aspects of activities, products or service delivery. These EPIs can be used within the context of an EMS and as part of other performance evaluation and reporting frameworks. The six Phases of the standard are: 1. Commitment and Establishing the Baseline. 2. Identifying and Ensuring Compliance with Legal, and other Requirements.
  • 27. 3. Developing Objectives, Targets and Programmes. 4. Implementation and Operation of the Environmental Management System. 5. Checking, Audit and Review. 6. Environmental Management System Acknowledgement. Figure 2.4 illustrates the overall process for phased implementation. Each of the six Phases has been divided into a number of key Stages. For example, Phase 1 be has been divided into 7 Stages which shows below. For each of the Stages, achievement criteria have been defined which the organisation will work towards, and in turn from the basis of the assessment for each Phase. Stage 1 Gaining and maintaining Stage 6 Management commitment Stage 7 Training awareness Initiation of and the initiation continual of culture change improvement Stage 2 Baseline assessment Stage3 Stage 4 Stage 5 Developing a draft Developing Developing an initial environmental environment draft environmental Policy indicators management system Implementation plan Phase 1 audit Figure 2.4: Seven stages of phase 1 in BS 8555 Source: BS 8555, 2003 At Phase 6, meeting all the achievement criteria from the previous Phases will place the organisation in a position to be assessed for certification to ISO 14001. Likewise, at Phase 6, Stage 6, meeting all of the achievement criteria will place the organisation in a position to apply for EMAS registration.
  • 28. Phase 1 Commitment and establishing the baseline Phase 1 audit Phase 2 Identifying and ensuring compliance with legal and other requirements Phase 2 audit Phase 3 Developing objectives, targets and programmes Phase 3 audit Phase 4 Implementation and operation of the Environmental management system Phase 4 audit Phase 5 Checking, audit and review Phase 5 audit Phase 6 Environmental Management system acknowledgement Secoond partly auditing and Preparing for Supply chain acknowledgement EMAS registration Preparing for external Management system Assessment (BS EN ISO 14001) Figure 2.5: overall process for phased implementation Source: BS 8555, 2003
  • 29. 2.5.3 The use of BS8555 At each level of the BS 8555 implementation process, key individuals from the implementing company can seek focused training, or use the tools available in the standard so that they can develop their organisation’s environmental performance controls and associated indicators. These will allow them to track and report (internally or externally) on their organisation’s environmental performance over time, and benchmark performance in critical areas (The Acorn Trust, 2004). After each phase of the scheme has been implemented, the organisation can either assess themselves through internal audits, allow major customers to assess them against the appropriate phase criteria or be assessed by a third party to ensure that the requirements of each phase have been met. The organisation may also choose to wait until two or more levels have been completed. Whatever they choose, a certificate can be issued following successful external assessment, so the company can demonstrate progress to its key customers and other interested stakeholders. As part of Phase 6, the organisation can choose to have an additional audit to ensure that the organisation’s EMS meets all of the requirements of ISO 14001; if successful the organisation would receive an ISO 14001 certificate. Additionally the organisation’s environmental performance data can be verified and the management system audited against the requirements of EMAS. Organisations can enter the model described in the standard at any Phase — but they will need to bear in mind that a later date they may need to provide evidence that they have already completed the elements of the model included in each of the previous Phases. For example, an organisation that has already conducted a baseline assessment and a comprehensive assessment of its legal (and other) obligations could enter the model at Phase 3, but they should be prepared to undertake an audit at some stage that confirms that all the requirements of Phase’s 1 and 2 have been met.
  • 30. For some organisations, particularly micro-companies, a full EMS may not be appropriate. In this situation, organisations can choose to stay at a specific phase and not progress to a full formal EMS or ISO 14001 certification. The company would still need to be re-audited periodically to ensure that it is continuing to meet the requirements of the relevant Phase and is able to demonstrate continual improvement in its environmental performance. They may want to publish an environmental report or make environmental performance data available to their key customers. 2.6 The UK Businesses 2.6.1 General information of the UK businesses The UK government recognises that enterprise is a vital contributor to the health of our economy and to diversity of opportunity in our society (SBS, 2004). Enterprise boosts productivity, increases competition and innovation, creates employment and prosperity, and revitalises our communities. A dynamic small business community is central to enterprise in the UK. The statistical definition of a small business is a business with fewer than 50 employees. However, the SBS has a wider role, and also supports medium sized enterprises - those with 50 to 249 employees (SBS, 2004). There are almost 3.8 million small businesses in the UK (SBS, 2004). They come in many shapes and sizes: from high-growth start-ups to ‘lifestyle’ businesses and social enterprises. Together they account for over 99% of the total number of UK firms and generate 52% of total turnover. They employ 12.6 million people, representing 56% of the private sector workforce (SBS, 2004), see figure 2.6. They form part of the bedrock of local communities, contributing to both economic prosperity and social cohesion in towns and in rural areas.
  • 31. Figure 2.6: Share of enterprises, employment and turnover by size of enterprise, UK Source: SBS, 2004 Despite the tremendous contribution of SMEs, they are also bringing significant environmental impacts. It is estimated that SMEs generate about 60% of commercial waste and as much as 80% of pollution incidents in England and Wales alone (SME-nvironment, 2003). Businesses have different legal forms. Around a quarter of businesses are companies (incorporated business), where one or more people are employed as company directors. However, the majority of businesses are un-incorporated – they are owned and managed by self-employed people, either on their own or in partnership. Two sectors dominate the UK business population (SBS, 2004) Half of the 1.7 million VAT registered enterprises in the UK are in just two sectors- the business services sector (real estate, renting and business activities), and wholesale, retail and repairs (Figure 2.7). Over a third of all new VAT registrations in 2002 were in business services - this sector has seen the most growth, from 314 thousand enterprises in 1994 to 500 thousand enterprises in 2003 (SBS, 2003a).
  • 32. Figure 2.7: VAT registered businesses by industry sector, per cent, UK Source: SBS, 2004 2.6.2 EMS implementation in SMEs Generally speaking, the smaller the business the less time and resource will be available to address environmental issues (SME-nvironment, 2003). The SME-nvironment 2003 survey of more than 8,000 small and medium-sized UK businesses reveals that many of them have a poor understanding of the effects of their activities on the environment and want more information and advice on green issues. The survey shows that more than half of medium-sized businesses (50-250 employees) have an environmental policy in place, while only a fifth of the smallest businesses can say the same (SME-nvironment, 2003). And it’s a similar picture when it comes to introducing practical environmental measures, with 44% of medium-sized businesses having taken positive steps compared to only 20% of micro businesses. As to the EMS implementation, there were 76 EMAS registered companies in the UK, and almost 3,000 ISO 14001 certified organisations in the UK by 2003 (Position statement, 2003). These numbers shows how few businesses are involved in formal EMS implementation. The survey shows almost the same results: a tiny 3% of
  • 33. businesses asked across all sizes and sectors have an accredited environmental management system (EMS) in place and only a further 1% has any plans to introduce one. The low uptake may partly be a result of ignorance about what an EMS is and the potential benefits and costs entailed (SME-nvironment, 2003). •The larger the business the more likely they were to have introduced an EMS. Fourteen percent of businesses with 50-250 employees have an EMS compared with 3 per cent of businesses with 0-9 employees. • The Mining and Quarrying sector is most likely to have implemented an EMS - 22% of businesses asked had done so. The sectors that are least likely to have implemented an EMS are Construction (1%), Land Transport (1%) and Printing and Publishing (1%). 2.6.3 Drivers and Barriers of EMS implementation in SMEs SMEs face internal and external barriers when seeking to address their environmental issues and adopt and implement EMSs, but it is the internal barriers that initially have the more significant role in impeding progress (Hillary, 1999). Negative company culture towards the environment and the disassociation between positive environmental attitudes and taking action cause the uptake of environmental performance improvements and EMS adoption to stumble at the first hurdle (Hillary, 1999). On top of this general culture of inaction on the environment, SMEs are also very sceptical of the benefits to be gained from making environmental improvements (Hillary, 1999). In many cases, especially for the smaller organisations, low awareness and the absence of pressure from customers (the most important driver for
  • 34. environmental improvements and EMS adoption) and insufficient other drivers mean that no efforts are made to address environmental issues (Hillary, 1999). SMEs also face the problem of locating, and having the time to locate, good quality advice and information. Once a SME has embarked on EMS implementation the process is often interrupted and resources are frequently diverted to core business activities (Hillary, 1999). It is the lack of human resources, not financial ones, which SMEs find most difficult to secure and maintain for EMS implementation. The more multifunctional the staff, as is common in micro and small companies, the more likely the process of implementation will be interrupted. Some studies indicate that SMEs, once on the route to certified EMSs, face inconsistency and high charges in the certification system. SMEs are subjected to a variety of stakeholder pressures related to their environmental performance and their adoption of EMSs. Top 5 Stakeholders Other Important Stakeholders 1. Customers • Insurers 2. Local Government • General public 3. Local community • Suppliers 4. Regulators • Larger companies 5. Employees • Banks Table 2.2 Stakeholders of SMEs Source: Hillary, 1999 Customer and supply chain are also prominent in driving SMEs environmental improvements (Hillary, 1999). However the regulator and local authorities exert greater influence on the general environmental performance of SMEs, in particular medium-sized enterprises, than customers.
  • 35. 3. Methodology 3.1 Introduction The general objective of this research is to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of three environmental management systems in order to find the most suitable system for the UK business area. The three chosen EMSs are two most popular EMSs at present i.e. the international environmental management standard ISO 14001 and the EU regulation EMAS and the new published British standard BS 8555. Although there are almost 8 years since the first publication of ISO 14001 and even one more year for EMAS, there are still many doubts and misunderstanding about them within the UK as well as EU businesses. On the other hand, small businesses are facing internal and external barriers when they were pushed into the EMS implementation practice. These are main reasons for SMEs stopped in front of the EMS implementation (Hillary, 1999). According to ENDS report, EMS initiatives are not reaching SMEs which take up 99% of the EU's 20 million non-primary sector private enterprises (ENDS Report 349, 2004). However, European countries have already realized this problem and different initiatives have been explored trying to improve the EMS implementation. The new British standard BS 8555 is one of the good examples which drawn from the UK supply chain program i.e. Acorn Project. It adopts a staged approach in order to help SMEs to implement EMS easily. We have already seen some positive results of it. Nevertheless, whether it is more suitable for the UK business than its former EMSs is still a problem. Although overall number of EMAS registered sites/organisations of UK is readily available, on the basis of the available data it is much more difficult to make further distinctions (notably in terms of size-class). This difficulty applies a fortiori to EN
  • 36. ISO 14001 certifications. Finally, any meaningful, UK data on new EMS i.e. BS 8555 do not seem to exist at all. Therefore, qualitative analysis will be the method of this research. 3.2 Criteria of suitable EMS The main methods of this research were literature review and a comparison between ISO 14001, EMAS, and BS 8555. Through the review of three EMSs and relevant literatures about their implementation experiences, a set of criteria has been created. Then a comparison was carried out, based on these criteria, to weight these EMSs and subsequently define the most suitable system for UK businesses. 1. Easy to start implementation 2. Costs are relatively low 3. Benefits are relatively high 4. Environmental performance are continuously improved 5. Legal compliance 6. Implementation process is easy to be control 7. Easy to get assistance 8. Good accreditation system 9. Compatible with other systems 10. Easy to diffuse Table 3.1: Criteria of suitable EMS 1. Easy to start implementation For those who are planning to implement an EMS, they all facing a problem: how to start it? It is especially stubborn for SMEs who usually has less experience of environmental management system. An easy start can eliminate hesitate and increase
  • 37. involvement. 2. Costs are relatively low Pursuit of profit is the ultimate aim of business. Therefore, decision on whether implement an EMS largely depend on how much it costs. The cost here means not only money but also time and human resource which are all very limited for SMEs. Therefore, lower cost can definitely attract more potential participants. 3. Benefits are relatively high One of the reasons for EMS implementation is the benefits EMS can provides to its users. Hilary 1999 categorized the benefits of EMS implementation for SMEs as organisational benefits, financial benefits, people benefits, Commercial Benefits, Environmental Benefits, and Communication Benefits. Different EMS can provide different benefits and the more benefits the more participants. 4. Environmental performance are continuously improved The ultimate aim of EMS is to control the participant’s environmental impacts (Welford, 1998). Therefore implementation an EMS is not just establishing an EMS and maintenance it but through the EMS to improve the company’s environmental performance continuously. The one who meets this criteria better can be seen as more suitable for businesses. 5. Legal compliance Make sure the legal compliance is one of the basic functions of a successful EMS. Businesses through EMS implementation should reduce the chance of conflict with environmental legislation and regulation and thus make the company work more
  • 38. efficiency. 6. Implementation process is easy to be control EMS implementation is easy to be interrupted due to some more important factors such as economic profits. Therefore, flexibility is very important for a successful EMS. A clear structure of each stage of EMS implementation process and sufficient control to each stage is preferable to participants. 7. Easy to get assistance Most of the companies find it is difficult to solve all the problems during the EMS implementation by themselves. It is necessary to get some kind of assistance form outside. Hence, a good EMS needs a good mechanism to guide its user and easy to get help from outside. 8. Mature accreditation system Mature accreditation system is necessary in order to make sure the creditability of EMS implementation. Creditability is receiving more and more concerns form EMS participant, stakeholders as well as the competitors (ENDS Report 353, 2004). Whit the support and guidance form accreditation body, EMS implementation can be carried out under a proper way and be accepted by more and more companies. 9. Compatible with other systems In additional to EMS, there are several other management systems such quality management systems and health and safe management systems. Study shows that compatible with other systems can cause more involvement (Best Report, 2004). Besides, compatible with other EMSs also need to be considered because a better
  • 39. compatible system has more opportunities. 10. Easy to diffuse Diffuse here means whether an EMS is easy to be used in certain industry sector. Studies have already focused on the implementation of EMS in certain industry sectors on the assumption that such approach is better for the involvement of EMS implementation, especially for SMEs. 3.3 The most suitable EMS Given the criteria of a suitable EMS for the UK businesses, especially for SMEs, three EMSs i.e. ISO 14001, EMAS and BS 8555 were analyzed through a comparison based on the criteria in order to find out which one meets the most criteria. Through such comparison, each EMS’s advantages and disadvantages can be defined which also considered as important results. The Figure 3.1 shows the process of the methodology of this research. Literature review Creat criteria for suitable EMS ISO 14001 EMAS BS 8555 Advantages and disadvantages of each EMS Suitable EMS Figure 3.1: Process of methodology
  • 40. 4. Results 4.1 Easy to start implementation Easy to start ISO 14001 EMAS BS 8555 implementation 1. Assistance to Financial support Financial support Acorn Project help SMEs from government from government engage 2. Specific drivers No No Supply chain for pressure implementation 3. Easy to accept Less requirement More requirement Staged approach for SMEs toward ISO 14001 and EMAS Table 4.1: Comparison on easy to start implementation As SMEs accounts almost 99% of the UK businesses, it is very important to attract SMEs into EMS implementation practice. However, due to the characteristic of SMEs, an easy start is needed to improve the implementation. The criteria can be divide into three sub-criteria as Assistance to help SMEs engage; Drivers for implementation; and Easy to accept for SMEs. As table 4.1 shows, BS 8555 can help SMEs engaging the EMS implementation through the Acorn Project which focus on the supply chain system. For those SMEs who want to implement an EMS, usually they will find it is difficult to start since lack of basic information and knowledge about EMS. The Acorn Project can solve this problem by offering them a good start point. ENDS Report has already shown the positive results of the Acorn Project. To date, 35 SMEs have successfully achieved certification to ISO14001 through Project Acorn, with a further 15 working towards stage 3 and 140 toward stage 2 (Best Project, 2004). According to Hilary 1999, customer is the main driver for SMEs to implement EMS.
  • 41. Compare with other two EMSs, BS 8555 considers the demands of supply chain and satisfies both suppliers and customer. Thus, SMEs driven by supply chain pressure are easier to chose BS 8555 as their EMS. Requirement is also an important factor to attract SMEs to engage EMS implementation. As EMAS require environmental statement for public available, it may frighten SMEs (Hilary, 1999). However, BS 8555 uses a staged approach which is easier for SMEs to accept as they can stop at any stage and get certification for what they have already done. 4.2 Costs are relatively lower Costs are ISO 14001 EMAS BS 8555 relatively low 1. Implementation Lower cost (Only Higher cost on Depend on costs reporting reporting system organization’s environmental (Environmental choice (ISO 14001 policy) Statement) or EMAS) 2. Certification Depend on the Depend on the scale Additional costs Costs scale of of organisation (Internal phases organisation need to be certified) 3. Maintenance Frequency of Higher cost for Depend on costs audits not regular audits organization’s specified; (within every three choice (ISO 14001 Document years) and annual or EMAS) maintenance can environmental be simplified if statement there is a ISO verification system already Table 4.2: Comparison on costs The cost here means not only money but also human resource and time. As to the implementation, EMAS has the higher cost than ISO 14001 for the reason of its reporting system i.e. environmental statement. According to Clausen 2002, publishing
  • 42. environmental statement accounts for about 19% of total EMAS implementation cost while ISO 14001 just need publish its environmental policy which usually is one paper long. For the maintenance costs it mainly from the documents maintenance and regular audit. EMAS costs higher than ISO 14001 because it specifies the audit cycle frequency is not to exceed three years and an annual verification of environmental statement while ISO 14001 not specify. Additionally, Firms with ISO 9001 systems in place will find that the auditing required by both standards for both certification and maintenance can be combined (Bogner, 2002). As to the cost of certification, although there is no literature about the costs of BS 8555, BS 8555 probably cost higher because it is a staged system and need certification for its 6 internal phases. Besides, there is significant cost if organisation moves towards final ISO 14001 certification or EMAS registration. 4.3 Benefits are relatively higher Benefits are ISO 14001 EMAS BS 8555 relatively higher 1. Financial Global market Reduce cost of Save costs if the benefits opportunity none compliance organisation don’t want a formal EMS 2. Organisational Internal benefits Better relationship Better relationship benefits higher than to stakeholders to customers outside benefits 3. Environmental Focus on system Better Focus on benefits itself not environmental environment environment performance Table 4.3: Comparison on implementation benefits
  • 43. As to the financial benefits, because ISO 14001 is an international standard which be accepted by most of the countries it brings the global opportunity to the organisation. EMAS can bring cost reduction through its legal compliance while BS 8555 can save more costs because it can be stopped at any stage and avoid wastes for the stages organisation do want to go. Compare with EMAS on organisational benefits, ISO 14001 emphasize internal benefits such as management efficiency more than outside benefits. EMAS can create better outside relationship with stakeholder and authorities through its reporting system. While BS 8555 can bring suppliers and customers together through the Acorn Project therefore create better supply chain relationship. To environmental benefits, EMAS has better environmental feedback. IRIS 2000 finds that “EMAS registered companies seem to achieve a better environmental performance than companies with only ISO 14001.” It is probably because the certification process of the IS0 14001 standard covers only the management system; in the EMAS scheme the information dealing with emissions and environmental impacts is also checked (Honkasalo, 1998). By using indicators and performance evaluation techniques based on ISO 14031, BS 8555 paying particular attention to the environmental performance (Gascoigne, 2002). 4.4 Environmental performance are continuously improved Environmental ISO 14001 EMAS BS 8555 performance continual improved 1. Emphasis Emphasize EMS Emphasize EMS Emphasize EMS itself and assume and continuous and environmental good EMS means environmental evaluation good environment improvement
  • 44. 2. Review and Examine the Examine the It monitors auditing company’s EMS company’s EMS environmental and operations and environmental performance over No requirement aspects; IER time, IER required for IER required 3. Actual results Worse than Better Lack of literature EMAS environmental performance Table 4.4: Comparison on environmental performance continual improvement EMAS emphasizes environmental sides much more strict than ISO 14001. EMAS annex 1 shows the requirement that environmental policy should includes a commitment to continual improvement and prevention of pollution (EMAS, 2001). However, ISO 14001 does not have such requirement because it simply assumes that good EMS leads to good environmental performance. BS 8555 also emphasizes the environmental performance improvement and there is one stage (Phase5 stage 4) for improving environmental performance (BS 8555, 2003). EMAS also identify environmental effects through carrying out the initial environmental review (IRE) which is a compulsory part of EMAS while ISO 14001 has no such demand. Additionally, the identification of environmental effects must include specified areas concern, as defined in EMAS while ISO 14001 no such restriction. Furthermore, during the auditing process, EMAS require EMS as well as environmental aspects are checked. This is the same as BS 8555 which monitors improvements in environmental performance over time, and gives organisations evidence of their progress along the way that they can show to existing and potential customers (Gascoigne, 2002), while ISO 14001 has no such requirement. To the actual results of environmental performance improvement, EMAS cause better environmental performance than ISO 14001. IRIS 2000 finds that “EMAS registered companies seem to achieve a better environmental performance than companies with only ISO 14001.” There are no literatures about environmental effects of BS 8555
  • 45. available but positive results probably can be gained in the future. 4.5 Legal compliance Legal ISO 14001 EMAS BS 8555 compliance 1. Description in Environmental Identification legal Identify legal the standards policy should requirements; show requirements; check include Legal evidence for and ongoing compliance compliance; and compliance and commitment procedures in place indicators developing 2. Restriction No restriction can Regulators can Phase 2 audit during the be found request withdrawal implementation of registration at process non-compliant sites 3. Actual results Non-compliance Environmental No literature can be found Agency has more available faith in EMAS Table 4.5: Comparison on legal compliance EMAS has an emphasis on legal compliance. EMAS 2001 describe this in its Annex1 B that organisations shall be able to demonstrate that (a) they have identified all relevant environmental legislation; (b) provide for legal compliance with environmental legislation; and (c) have procedures in place that enable the organisation to meet these requirements on an ongoing basis. Like EMAS, BS 8555 also emphasis legal compliance and spend one entire phase (Phase 2) to make sure the legal requirements can be defined, checked, and keeping complied. In addition, BS 8555 ask organisation to develop compliance indicators. Compare with EMAS and BS 8555, ISO 14001 just need a legal compliance commitment in organisation’s environmental policy. Both EMAS and BS 8555 have some kind of restriction focus on legal compliance during the EMS implementation. For EMAS, it allows regulators to request
  • 46. withdrawal of registration at non-compliant sites (ENDS 332, 2002). For BS 8555, at the end of each phase there is an audit and fail to satisfy the successful criteria will lead to EMS implementation process stop. Therefore, organisation who chooses BS 8555 must show their legal compliance in order to move on phase 3. Although study shows that industrial sites with certified environmental management systems (EMSs) are no more likely to comply with legal requirements than sites without them (ENDS 332, 2002). Environmental Agency has more confidence in working with EMAS than with ISO14001 on legal compliance problem (ENDS Report 327, 2002). As to BS 8555, it is too early to draw any conclusion about its legal compliance effects. 4.6 Implementation is easy to control Implementation is ISO 14001 EMAS BS 8555 easy to control 1. Resource Resource consume Resource consume Each phase is control continuously continuously manageable as a separate investment project 2. Process control Once audit only Once audit only Each phase has an audit process plus an final formal audit in phase 5 3. Destination Only ISO 14001 Only EMAS Stop at early phase control registration or towards supply chain acknowledge, ISO 14001 or EMAS Table 4.6: Comparison on the control of implementation process BS 8555 divides the EMS into five clearly distinguishable, consecutive phases. Such staged approaches allow companies to progress towards a full EMS (either EN ISO 14001/ISO 14001 or EMAS, certified if so required) at a pace best suited to their
  • 47. resources (Best Report, 2004). The interest for an SME lies especially in the planning advantages in terms of resources, as each phase is manageable as a separate investment project and can be better planned in time. Differ from BS 8555, resource consumes of ISO 14001 and EMAS are all continuous and difficult for organisations to control. As to implementation process control, at the end of each phase of BS 8555 there is an audit needed to check whether the phase is finished satisfactory. Such checking mechanism provides organisations opportunity to control their EMS implementation under correct condition. In addition, there is a system and performance audit in phase 5 which provides overall review of the various elements of the EMS. This is the same function as the audit process of ISO 14001 and EMAS. Another control BS 8555 brings to organisations is destination control. While ISO 14001 and EMAS just move towards their only destination respectively, organisations who choose BS 8555 can choose stop at each phase and get some kind of certification or move to phase 6 which leads to three other destinations: supply chain acknowledge; ISO 14001 certification; and EMAS registration. Therefore, organisations can control their EMS destination during the first 5 phases. 4.7 Easy to get assistance Easy to get ISO 14001 EMAS BS 8555 assistance 1. Internal ISO 14004 Requirement of List of supporting assistance assistance for tools and SMEs can be techniques for each found in the stage regulation
  • 48. 2. External Finical assistance Finical assistance Supply chain assistance and information and information mentor (the Acorn support support (e.g. Project) EMAS Tool Kit) Table 4.7: Comparison on assistance Internal assistance here means information assistance which organisations can get form EMS standards. Organisations choose ISO 14001can get help form its additional guidance - ISO 14004 i.e. Environmental management system – General guidelines on principles, systems and supporting techniques. For those who choose BS 8555, the standard attached with a useful table which lists supporting tools and techniques for each stage of implementation. As to EMAS, its only requires its Member States to establishing or promoting technical assistance measures for users but no attached documents can offer help. In order to promote EMS implementation especially focus on SMEs, various external assistances are available for organisations. Some kinds of finical and information supports are available for ISO and EMAS participators. For example, Internet-based support tools, such as websites or databases, are used as a source of technical information by almost every country (Best Report, 2004). Networks such as the UK Green Business Clubs, EnviroWise and the on-line EMAS Tool Kit can offer technical information or implementation supports. Differ form ISO and EMAS, BS 8555 seek assistance form its supply chain program (the Acorn Project), a good example can be found form the UK construction sector. It combines sector-specificity with the mentoring capacity of the supply chain, i.e. a “vertical network” (Best Report, 2004).
  • 49. 4.8 Good recognition system Recognition ISO 14001 EMAS BS 8555 system 1. External Competent Competent Phases audits only checking certifier verifier require internal audit, system audit can be conducted by internal or external auditor 2. Accreditation UKAS UKAS Still under system consideration Table 4.8: Comparison on recognition system Welford 1998 points out that external audit carry more weight. Therefore, the system with external audit has higher recognition. Both ISO 14001 and EMAS are formal EMSs and need external audit in order to get ISO 14001 certification or EMAS registration. There are competent auditors responsible for this activity i.e. competent certifiers for ISO 14001 certification and competent verifiers for EMAS verification. However, BS 8555 does not have very strict requirement about external checking. The phase audits are all internal audits which conducted by the organisation itself. Although there is a system and performance audit which is different in scope and nature from the phase audits (BS 8555, 2003), it can be conducted by either internal or external auditors. In order to improve the recognition of ISO 14001 certification and EMAS registration, the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is pointed as the national body for the accreditation of independent environmental certifiers and verifiers and for the supervision of their activities. The BS 8555 takes the form of guidance towards achieving ISO14001 or EMAS. It is not a certifiable specification in itself. Therefore,
  • 50. it has no accreditation system for itself. However, the accreditation service UKAS is understood to be considering some forms of recognition for BS 8555 (ENDS Report 337, 2003). Following a feasibility study of the options, it has therefore been proposed to develop an accredited 'inspection' scheme for BS 8555 which will enable formal recognition to be given of the stages completed (Best Report, 2004). 4.9 Other criteria ISO 14001 EMAS BS 8555 1. Compatible ISO 9001 quality EMAS II Towards ISO 14001 with other management integrated ISO or EMAS systems system 14001 as its environmental management system 2. Easy to diffuse No literature No literature Diffuse through found found supply chain Table 4.9: Comparison on other criteria One reason against EMAS is the belief that ISO 14001 can be easier integrated with ISO 9001 management system and therefore certainly raises efficiency (Best Report, 2004). This reason should be removed by the integration of elements of ISO 14 001 in EMAS II. The BS8555 towards achieving ISO 14001 and EMAS after phase 5. Therefore, the compatibility with these two systems should be no doubt. There is considerable sectoral variation in the uptake of EMSs, including amongst SMEs. Whilst in some sectors the prevalence of formal EMSs is comparatively high
  • 51. (e.g. metal products, chemicals, food and beverages), in others (e.g. the extractive industry) it is much lower (Best Report, 2004). Against this background, BS 8555 offers a good means through the Acorn Project to diffuse the EMS within supply chain. Positive results have already been found in the UK construction sector. However, relevant literature about ISO 14001 and EMAS is unavailable.
  • 52. 7. Discussion 7.1 Comparison results The comparison of this research is based on the criteria and relevant sub-criteria which have been created in order to identify the suitable EMS for UK businesses. From the comparison element we can see that ISO 14001, EMAS, or BS 8555 have their own advantages and disadvantages when they are compared to each other. Although such differences were not shown in a quantitative way in this research, they are significant enough for UK businesses to take note of during the period of their EMS implementation. 7.1.1 Characteristics of ISO 14001 The international EMS standard – ISO 14001 is currently the most popular environmental management system. Many of the UK’s corporations (either big, medium, or small) have certified their EMS under the ISO 14000 standards during the past several years, and many other companies are in the process of doing so. The reason why most companies prefer ISO 14001 is because it is better in many areas than its main competitor - EMAS. First of all, according to the comparison, the implementation of ISO 14001 is relatively cheaper and costs less time and human resource, therefore make users making it affordable. Because of the fewer requirements, such as environmental reporting to the public, and an annual external audit, organisations that adopt ISO 14001 can save more costs than those who choose EMAS. It is very important for businesses, especially SMEs, since usually they do not have enough money to engage in EMS implementation. Another reason for choosing ISO 14001 is its international standard status. As an international standard ISO 14001 is recognized by most of the countries around the
  • 53. world and therefore bring the organisations the global market opportunities. For example, the UK suppliers who have ISO 14001 certifications can be accepted by customers around the world while those registered with EMAS probably only can be accepted within European Union. This is because EMAS is only a EU regulation and unfamiliar or unaccepted by non-EU countries (Whitelaw, 1997). Furthermore, ISO 14001 has relatively longer implementation history (8 years). On the one side, there is plenty of experience that can be gained from those who have already obtained ISO 14001 certification. In addition, assistance from external sources such as the Internet is usually easily accessible. On the other side, ISO 14001 has an accreditation system (the UKAS) in place, which has improved its credibility and makes organisations confident enough to implement this standard. The ISO 14001 also has many shortcomings. The most often heard criticism is that ISO 14001 certification does not measure the actual environmental performance of a plant or company (Krut and Gleckman, 1998). Although there is a guideline (ISO 14031) for environmental performance evaluation, it has no requirement to assess whether the organisation’s environmental performance achieves continuous improvement. The ISO 14001 standard simply assumes that a good environmental management system will, if they are implemented effectively, lead to continuous environmental performance improvement. However, many people argue that such an assumption is not correct (Rondinell, 2000) and the best way is adopting external verification to make sure such improvement actually occurs. The other shortcomings of ISO 14001 include less emphasis on legal compliance and a low emphasis on making information publicly available. Compared with EMAS and BS 8555, ISO 14001 pays less attention on legal compliance. In other words, an organisation’s risk of conflicting with legal requirements is higher than EMAS and BS 8555 since they ask more in order to make sure the legal compliance is adhere to. The organisations certified with ISO 14001 only need publish their environmental
  • 54. policy which appears not to satisfy most stakeholders and, it often follows poorer working relationships. 7.1.2 Characteristics of EMAS Although EMAS is not as popular as ISO 14001, it is a strong competitor to ISO 14001 in the EMS implementation market. Even though they have a competitive relationship they are by no means totally different. Inedde, EMAS is very similar in many areas with ISO 14001. Both of them use the ‘plan – do – check – act’ cycle to structure the main body of the EMS. They also have several stages same either in name or function. In short, the requirements of ISO 14001 have been recognized under EMAS as corresponding to certain of the management system requirements of EMAS since 1997 (Welford, 1998) and integrated into EMAS II during the EMAS revision EMAS (Clausen, 2002). Except for the compatibility of these two systems, EMAS has its own edge as an EMS. EMAS follows the steps of ISO 14001 but goes beyond ISO 14001. It has stricter requirements in environmental performance evaluation, the auditing cycle, and legal compliance. Besides, as a very important part of EMAS, reporting system i.e. environmental report must be available to the public and needs external auditing annually. All these rigorous requirements make sure the aim of EMS implementation can be achieved. Much literature shows that organisations choose EMAS registration have better environmental performance than those choose ISO 14001 certification (Clausen, 2002). Although it has a distinct edge over ISO 14001, EMAS also has obvious limitations. Most of all limitations are the higher cost for implementation. The additional costs of environmental reporting makes many SMEs frightened and changes them adopting ISO 14001. The geographical limitation of EMAS is also a problem because EMAS is only valid within EU countries. The “world wide validity” is an important reason for
  • 55. some organisations to choose ISO 14001 certification. Another reason against EMAS is put forward by Hillary (1999), who argues that there is a “fear of de-registration for minor breaches of legislation”, which makes EMAS an unattractive proposition for many firms. 7.1.3 Characteristics of BS 8555 First of all, BS 8555 is a British standard which means it has a formal status among some other ways (such as the way of EMS club) to promote the EMS implementation. On the other hand, unlike the formal EMS (ISO 14001 and EMAS), BS 8555 as a national standard is probably more suitable for the UK businesses. The reason for this is because during its creating process, it considered in some detail the characteristics of UK businesses. Therefore, it aims to provide EMS implementation guidance for all organizations but particularly SMEs. However, since SMEs’ environmental impacts are a universal problem around the EU, BS 8555 can also be adopted by other countries and maybe influence the subsequent development of ISO 14001 and EMAS as its precursor BS 7750 (the first EMS standard) appears to have done. The most distinct character of BS 8555 from ISO 14001 and EMAS is its staged approach. It breaks down the whole EMS implementation process into five phases and followed with phase six which towards ISO 14001 certification or EMAS registration. Such a staged approach can provide companies with an easy way to start implementation and let them control the whole implementation process under the pace they prefer. This is particularly important for SMEs as their resources are usually limited. Besides, for those who do have interest in completing the whole EMS process, it is also a good choice. BS 8555 is not the only staged approach available at this moment. The others include: the 3 - phased EMS implementation scheme in Ireland, “e+5” in Spain and “On the Way to EMAS with ISO 14001” in Sweden (Best Report, 2004).
  • 56. Another merit of BS 8555 is its clear relationship to ISO 14001 and EMAS. Instead of a completely different standard, BS 8555 is more like a helpful approach for those who want to get ISO 14001 certification or EMAS registration but which is not as well-equipped as a large company in terms of money, time and human resource. Therefore, choosing BS 8555 will not conflict with the ultimate aim of ISO 14001 certification or EMAS registration. On the contrary, it will helpful in promoting the ISO 14001 and EMAS implementation. The BS 8555 is a output of the UK supply chain project (Acorn Project). In fact, the Acorn Project is not only the origin of BS 8555 but also can be used to popularize it. The SMEs involved in the Acorn Project are all using this staged EMS implementation approach and get outside assistance from bigger companies (the customers, so called ‘mentor’). Through the project, most of the companies successfully became involved in EMS implementation and have moved towards ISO 14001 or EMAS. Compared with ISO 14001 and EMAS, BS 8555 is a very young system. It inevitably has some shortcomings. The most serious barrier for its spread is lacking an appropriate recognition system. Because BS 8555 has five phases before starting on ISO 14001 certification and EMAS verification it needs some formal recognition for each of these five phases. But such a recognition system is still under development. The other problem is a current lack of implementation experience; however, time will ease this issue. Unlike ISO 14001 or EMAS, which have longer implementation histories, BS 8555 has only just been created. Therefore, both the participant and external auditor as well as authorities all need to explore the best implementation methods.
  • 57. 7.2 ISO 14001, EMAS or BS 8555? From the comparison between ISO 14001, EMAS, and BS 8555 we can see that each of these three systems has their own advantages and disadvantages. So which one is more suitable for the UK businesses in their EMS implementation? Choosing the most appropriate system needs a comprehensive consideration about not only the characteristics of each system but also the reason and purpose of the organisation’s EMS implementation requirements. Therefore, different companies may need different EMS. However, according to the characteristics of the UK business, there are two categories: the big enterprises, which is a small part of the UK business but have plenty of resource for EMS implementation, and the SMEs, which is the majority of the UK business but generally lacks motivation and resources for EMS implementation. To those who have plenty of resources to carry out EMS implementation EMAS could be a good choice. EMAS is compatible with ISO 14001 and has most of the advantages of ISO 14001; however it go beyond ISO 14001 in several areas such as continuous environmental performance improvement, legal compliance, and environmental reporting. Therefore it makes sure organisations can achieve their environmental objectives. ISO 14001 is relatively easier to implement but it has some obvious shortcomings. If organisations could really establish an efficient ISO 14001 system and make it continuous improvement, it also can get the same results as EMAS. As to the majority of the UK business, choosing ISO 14001 and EMAS directly seems not to be appropriate. From this research we can see that BS 8555 is a good choice for most SMEs who want to start EMS implementation but usually do not have enough resources. BS 8555 can satisfy different demands of SMEs’ and help them continuously move towards ISO 14001 certification or EMAS registration. In short, SMEs are better to choose BS 8555 to get a start of with their EMS implementation
  • 58. and to be able to stop at any phase to take a break until they feel the right time is come to go forward. Such a way can make sure SMEs can have enough motivation to move forward until they achieve formal EMS recognition. 7.3 Gap analysis and further study recommendation The analysis of BS 8555 standard in this research is mainly based on the standard itself. This is because finding relevant literature is very difficulty at this moment as it is a new standard with only one-year history. This problem causes uncertainty of the actual effects of this standard. Some barriers for implementing the standard may be neglected because of simple analysis of the document. Another problem of this research is the valid term of the results. Both ISO 14001 and EMAS have some shortcomings and thus limited their implementation. Researchers and developers have already realized this and planning to carry out revision in the next few years (Best Report, 2004). If ISO 14001 or EMAS adopted the staged approach the same as BS 8555, it is not easy to say which one of these three systems is better and the results of this research may be not valid at that time. In order to get better results, further research can use other methods such interview and questionnaire to get the actual implementation experiences of BS 8555. In addition, future research should avoid looking at the SME sector as a whole. More detailed research should be done to examine the suitability of BS 8555 in certain industry sector.
  • 59. 8. Conclusion This research focuses on the EMS implementation activities within the UK business area, trying to find out the best EMS currently available for the participants. The literature review shows three EMSs are now available for the UK businesses i.e. the international environmental management standard ISO 14001, the European regulation – EMAS, and the UK standard BS 8555. The fact that the majority of companies choose the ISO 14001 certification as their EMS implementation aim means this international standard dominates the EMS implementation market at present. The EMAS implementation situation is not as optimistic as the ISO 14001 as just a few companies choose it as their EMS. The new British standard provides the business sector with a new choice, and some positive results have already been shown form from the supply chain program, the Acorn Project. Different systems have different advantages and disadvantages compared with each other during the implementation process. Some of these advantages or disadvantages have significant effects when businesses choose the EMS for their implementation. Therefore, based on the literature review, ten criteria have been created in order to identify these characteristics. These criteria include whether it is easy to start implementation, the costs and benefits of implementation, environmental performance improvement, legal compliance, the control of the implementation process, assistance with implementation, the accreditation system, compatibility with other systems, and the ability to diffusion in certain industry sector. Most of the criteria have several sub-criteria which aim to help the identification of the advantages and disadvantages. Comparisons were used to find out which system is better than others for each criteria. These comparisons are based on two analyses: the ISO 14001 standard, the EMAS regulation, and the BS 8555 standard and literatures about EMS implementation. From the comparisons we can see that the ISO 14001 standard is relatively easy to start implementing and costs less. It has a mature accreditation system and it is easy to
  • 60. get help during the implementation process. In addition, the compatibility with the quality management system, ISO 9000:2000, is also an advantage. However, the ISO 14001 has fewer implementation benefits. It is also not good at making sure the legal compliance and environmental performance continuous improvement occurs. The EMAS regulation is compatible with ISO 14001 but has more requirements. Therefore, it is not easy for organisations to start and it costs more to implement. But it has the advantages such as legal compliance, continuous environmental performance improvement and mature accreditation system. The new British standard BS 8555 extracted the advantages from its former systems. The staged approach makes it easier to get started and is flexible in the implementation process. The emphasis of legal compliance makes it more confident in on the legal side. The environmental performance evaluation requirements make sure the environmental performance can be improved continuously. The most serious problem of the BS 8555 there is no good accreditation system available at this moment and therefore cause the lower credibility of its inter phases. Based on the comparisons between these three EMSs, further discussion were carried out in order to analyze the applicability of each system. The majority (99%) of the UK businesses are SMEs which lack the resources and motivations for the EMS implementation. The EMAS is too burdensome to implement in SMEs although it is better in terms of environmental performance and legal compliance etc. The ISO 14001 standard is the most popular system for the SMEs because it is relatively cheap and easy for SMEs to implement. However, the new British standard - BS 8555 seems to have a bright future. It introduced the staged approach into the EMS implementation and moves towards the ISO 14001 certification and EMAS registration. With the establishment of accreditation system, the BS 8555 will be accepted by more and more SMEs and promote the EMS implementation within UK businesses.
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