Environmental management systems
If you wish, you can use the environmental management system to comprehensively develop, control and monitor your company's environmental matters. Depending on your company’s needs, you can use an extensive or a streamlined environmental management system. EMAS is an example of an extensive system and EcoCompass an example of a streamlined system. You can also build an environmental management system in accordance with the ISO 14001 standard.
An environmental management system is a tool for managing the development, steering and monitoring of environmental matters in your company. An environmental management system supports the comprehensive management and goal-oriented development of your company.
In principle, an environmental management system functions in the same manner as other systems that control your company’s activities. You can build an environmental management system that best serves the special needs of your company. If your environmental management system complies with the ISO 14001 standard or the requirements set out in the EMAS Regulation, you can apply for an accredited independent assessment of the system and obtain a certificate.
If your company is small, a streamlined environmental system can be a good starting point for developing environmental matters. The EcoCompass suits all sectors and is tailored to the needs of your company. Green Office, on the other hand, intended specifically for managing environmental matters at offices and for developing Green Key sustainable tourism.
An environmental management system makes environmental matters part of your company’s management, strategy and operational planning. It ensures that your company complies with up-to-date environmental, waste and chemical legislation. It will help you in change and risk situations and their anticipation. In the optimum situation, it can secure the continuity of your business operations.
The systematic development of environmental issues can also bring cost savings to your company as the use of raw materials and energy become more efficient and the amount of waste is reduced. It also allows you to give more consideration to environmental impacts in different areas of your company’s operations.
An environmental management system supports your company’s environmental communications, brand and marketing. It demonstrates to your customers, partners, providers of funding and the authorities that your company is environmentally responsible. This will also strengthen the environmental awareness of your employees.
As an entrepreneur, you must be aware of what the Environmental Protection Act and other provisions require with regard to environmental issues of your company's sector and its certain activities. When your company decides to introduce an environmental management system, conduct a study on how environmental aspects are taken into account in the initial situation and consider what development objectives your company has in environmental matters. Determine the concrete measures that help your company to minimise its environmental impacts.
Make the management of environmental matters in different company functions the responsibility of specific employees. Provide your personnel with training in environmental matters relevant to all employees. Prepare clear instructions for different functions (including emergencies). Monitor and document environmental matters in your company on a regular basis and take immediate action if you identify shortcomings.
When your company uses an extensive or a streamlined environmental management system, it also undertakes to continuously improve its operations and to make them more environmentally friendly.
The international ISO 14001 standard sets out the requirements for an environmental management system in a comprehensive and target-oriented manner. It helps your company to improve the level of its environmental protection and demonstrate that its environmental matters are properly managed.
Your company can build its own environmental management system by using a model based on the ISO 14001 standard. If your environmental management system meets the requirements laid out in the standard, you can apply for an environmental certificate.
ISO 14001 is the best-known model for environmental management systems in the world. The environmental requirements for companies complying with the model are similar throughout the world, but each company implements these in a manner that applies to its own activities.
The standard makes it easier to make comparisons between companies and it means that they can be treated on an equal basis. Using the model also immediately shows your foreign partners that your company takes environmental matters seriously and acts in accordance with specific international regulations.
Please note that the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard are also part of the EMAS environmental management system.
EMAS is a voluntary environmental management scheme intended for all types of companies. It is based on an EU regulation and is mainly used in the European Economic Area. By using EMAS, your company undertakes to observe environmental legislation, continuously improve the level of its environmental protection and publicly report on its environmental matters.
The EMAS system is based on the ISO 14001 standard’s requirements. In addition, an environmental report, i.e. an EMAS report, must be prepared on the company’s activities at least once every three years. The statement provides your stakeholders with a reliable and comprehensive source of information on how your company manages its environmental matters.
After your company has prepared the statement on the basis of its environmental management system, an external verifier determines that the system functions properly and validates the statement. Submit the application for registration in the EMAS scheme from the Finnish Environment Institute.
If your company uses the EMAS scheme, it can also use the EMAS certificate and logo in its marketing. They make your company’s environmental management practices more credible and demonstrate that your company has a responsible approach to environmental matters.