The University has now developed an Environmental Management System (EMS) which is independently verified and registered to the international environmental management standard BS EN ISO 14001:2004. Large organisations such as the University and the rest of the HE sector are increasingly becoming aware of the benefits of implementing an EMS and more and more organisations are reaping the rewards.
At UoG we recognise that achieving registration is the easy part - we now have to demonstrate that we are doing what we say we do. Accordingly, the EMS Working Group, which set the wheels in motion and built upon previous environmental initiatives to bring the system up and running, is continuing to work towards consolidating the activities of the University that cause environmental impacts so that they can be managed more effectively and reduced. This also helps to ensure that complying with the raft of environmental legislation that exists is a lot clearer and easier.
All in all, the EMS leads to an efficient way of managing our impacts and help the University in improving the local and global environment.
What is an EMS?
An Environmental Management System is a method of ensuring comprehensive management of the environmental impacts of an organisation. The scope of the EMS covers the complete range of University activities - this is ambitious, but reflects the aims of the University. The EMS includes everything from the management of the grounds and facilities to the specialised activities of different schools and even the content of the curriculum and mode of delivery.
The EMS is restricted to users of the system and can be accessed by following this link: University EMS portal
What is ISO 14001?
BS EN ISO 14001:2004 is the foremost international standard in environmental management and is governed by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). It obliges those who achieve accreditation to publish an Environmental Policy that commits the organisation to avoiding pollution, complying with all environmental legal and other requirements as well as committing itself to a programme of objectives and targets to achieve continual improvement. To achieve certification an organisation must undergo a rigorous check by third party auditors.
In order to achieve registration we had to show to our external auditors, the British Stands Institute (BSI), that:
- we are in control of our environmental aspects;
- we have evaluated our aspects and are addressing the most significant impacts through environmental objectives and targets;
- we have written an Environmental Policy and are complying with it;
- we are aware of all environmental legislation applicable to us, and any other requirements that affect us, and that we are complying with them;
- that we check that our system works!
What is BSI?
The British Standards Institute is one of the most highly recognised auditors of management systems. They have been chosen by the University to audit the EMS to the requirements of ISO 14001.
What are the Benefits?
There are many environmental, social and business benefits of having an accredited EMS. These benefits include:
- improving the local and global environment - the EMS will generate objectives and targets to improve in the areas of the most significant impacts;
- improving local image - the University can reap the benefits of having an independently verified standard and send out positive signals to the local community;
- improved marketability - taking positive action on the environment sends out positive signals to potential and existing students and staff;
- legal compliance - the EMS demonstrates systems for complying with the law;
- reduced risk - the EMS provides a systematic mechanism for managing financial and other risks associated with the environment;
- cost reductions - rationalisation of managing the impact of our environmental aspects can lead to cost reductions often associated with more efficient waste & energy management;
- efficiency - the systematic approach of an EMS identifies areas of inefficiency in managing aspects and allows impacts to be managed more efficiently.
Who are the EMS Working Group?
The EMS Working Group was first set up in March 2003, and meets regularly to advance the University's environmental management system. The Group reports directly to the Sustainable Development Committee who in turn report to the University Executive. Members include:
Clive Fenton - ICT Manager
Martin Foster - Health, Safety & Environment Advisor
Geoff Midwinter - Environment Officer
Andy Simpson - Operational Services Manager
Daniella Tilbury – Director of Sustainability
Nigel Wichall - Director of Estates
Sarah Wightman - Procurement & Contracts Manager
The Group has a specific remit to review the EMS's continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness by evaluating:
1. The results of internal audits and evaluations of compliance with applicable legal requirements and with other requirements to which the University subscribes.
2. The status of corrective and preventive actions airising from audits and evaluations of compliance.
3. Follow-up actions from previous reviews.
4. The environmental performance of the University, particularly the extent to which objectives and targets have been met.
5. Communications from external interested parties, including complaints.
6. Changing circumstances, including:
- changes to the University's organisation, its activities and services;
- the results of the evaluation of environmental aspects from planned or new developments;
- changes in applicable legal requirements and other requirements to which the University subscribes;
- the views of interested parties;
- advances in science and technology, and
- lessons learned from emergency situations and accidents,
7. Making recommendations for improvement.
To contact the group email EMS.