The journey to ISO 14001

Last week I attended a short, but intense, one day course on behalf of Computer Aid with Global Action Plan in London – the EMS Easy course. This was a great overview of how SME’s can set-up, monitor and improve on an Environmental Management System (EMS) within their organisation. Being new to the area of environmental management (and the UK’s systems!) it was great to get this start-to-finish breakdown of how it all works – and hopefully start on greening up the Computer Aid office!

For any other novices such as myself out there, an Environmental Management System (EMS) is a plan to help businesses identify areas of improvement and reduce their environmental impact, engaging staff and bringing about some positive change to the organisation as a whole. Computer Aid is by no means a villain when it comes to environmental practice in our offices, (in fact we already have recycling and power-saving schemes in place) but there’s always room for improvement!

The EMS Easy programme itself is designed to help SME’s in the UK tackle the daunting task of attaining ISO 14001, a standard aiming to have organisations minimizing their environmental impacts, while complying with applicable legislation, and continually improving on their practices. No small feat, but one that I think Computer Aid is already well on its way to achieving. We are up to speed on all the necessary permits/licences as far as current WEEE reuse and disposal requirements, but, as in most offices, there is still plenty of opportunity to reduce environmental impacts – and save cash at the same time.

The ISO standard looks at the ways in which the organisation is making efforts to minimise its environmental impacts. In the case of Computer Aid, for the most part this means that the EMS will focus on office-based activity at our London headquarters. So, Step One – we’ll be taking a tour of our office to produce an eco-map, highlighting any areas for improvement/overhauling, and sending around a quick survey (a ‘weathermap’ in EMS Easy terms) to find out how everyone feels about our environmental impacts and where they would like to see improvements.

I’ll be writing some new posts as we make our way along – wish us luck in the start of the journey to ISO 14001! Thanks again to Jonny at Global Action Plan for the advice and for having us along for EMS Easy, lunch, and the bottle of worm-juice for my garden 🙂

Jon McCullough


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