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Which of these 3 myths about service companies and environmental management have YOU fallen for?

Unsure whether an environmental management system is right for your company? We explain the reality behind three common misconceptions related to companies in the services sector.

Are you in the service sector? Learn about the impact of ISO 14001 in your company1. Environmental management is a waste of time for service companies because their contribution to CO2 emissions is negligible – FALSE!
What image comes to mind when you think about bad environmental management? A factory billowing acrid smoke into the sky? An tanker run aground, spilling oil into the ocean? Or an office worker stopping to turn up the air-conditioning on the way to the printer? If you answered number three, you’d be in a minority. After all, heavy industries account for most of the world’s CO2 emissions – right? Not quite. While manufacturing and energy companies have a large environmental impact relative to their size, the sheer size of the service sector – between 70% and 80% in most advanced economies1 - makes it a major contributor in terms of CO2. Buildings alone are estimated to account for around a third of CO2 emissions,with transport accounting for a further 25%2.

This means that while an individual office worker’s decision to leave the lights on, print an email or take a plane to a meeting rather than use video-conferencing may feel irrelevant, multiplied by millions, it becomes a big deal.


2. Environmental management is a cost, not a benefit – FALSE!
The choices you make as a business owner don’t just impact the planet - they also help reduce your costs, and increase value.  As WPP, the world’s biggest advertising agency, explained in 2016:

“Our work on environmental issues improves operational efficiency and reduces utility and travel costs, enhances our credibility as advisors to clients, enables us to meet environmental requirements in client tender processes and supports employee engagement.”

While some decisions – say, selecting a “green” office over an old, poorly-performing building – may be one-offs, others, such as introducing efficient waste management, require a change in employee behaviour. Crucially, your choices are the most effective when you have a clear idea of where you are going and what you want to achieve. That’s where an Environmental Management System comes in: an effective way to manage delivery of your environmental management strategy, just as you manage your business strategy and risks.


3. Environmental Management Systems and ISO 14001 are just nice labels – they don’t make any difference to the business – FALSE!
Recently improved to make it of maximum relevance to business’ needs, the world’s leading Environmental Management Certification ISO 14001:2015 offers an approach to help you build an environmental management system (EMS) that is specific to you. Implementation of ISO 14001:2015 begins with an in-depth exploration of all the environmental issues, risks, threats that impact your business, led by your senior management. For the first time, this includes the environmental factors that could impact your business, as well as your own environmental impacts on the outside world.

It also includes a review of the needs and expectations of “interested parties” such as your customers and local communities. As part of this exercise, you evaluate risks associated with threats and opportunities. The result will be an environmental management system built on the needs and challenges of your specific business. It may even result in ideas to unlock unexploited opportunities in your sector!

Get certified to the new ISO 14001:2015
To gain and maintain their certification, companies turn to independent certification bodies such as Bureau Veritas. These accredited bodies carry out yearly audits, and provide an impartial view on areas for improvement. To support companies in the transition from ISO 14001:2004 to the new ISO 14001:2015, as well as companies ready to certify an environmental management system for the first time, Bureau Veritas, one of the world’s leading certification bodies, has developed cost-effective transition packs. With several levels available according to your organization, we guide you through the process with training, a self-assessment tool and other services. In no time at all, you’ll be on the route to better environmental performance!

Published: 07 July 2017

1 Source: CIA World Factbook 2016
2 Source: World Green Building Council, Eurostat



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