Environmental Management Systems: An Implementation Guide for Small and Medium-Sized Organizations


This Guide is intended to support and facilitate the development of environmental management systems (EMS) among small and medium-sized organizations. The Guide explains how you can develop and implement an effective EMS and how it can support your organization’s mission and goals. Development of an EMS is a voluntary approach to improving your organization’s environmental performance.

The Guide is designed primarily for use by EMS implementers — the people within a small or medium-sized organization that will lead the EMS development effort. The heart of the Guide is found in Section 4, “Key Elements of an EMS.” For each of the recommended EMS elements, this section discusses the importance of the element, how you can get started, and some key suggestions for implementation. In addition, examples of how other organizations have addressed various EMS elements are provided in Section 4.

The Guide uses the ISO 14001 Standard as a model for an EMS. The ISO 14001 Standard is the widely accepted official international standard for environmental management systems. This Guide is not intended for use by registrars (or others) for registration purposes, nor is it intended to provide specific interpretation of the ISO 14001 Standard.

How this Guide is Organized

Section 1
Describes the many benefits of an EMS and how it can help your organization to compete and prosper in today’s global marketplace.

Section 2
Summarizes the overall management systems concepts. This section explains what a management system is and how it can support your organization’s mission.

Section 3
Describes the overall process for building an EMS and provides recommendations for planning the overall EMS development effort.

Section 4
Provides detailed guidance on how your EMS should be designed and implemented. This section discusses each of the key elements of an EMS and how you can put them in place.

Section 5
Describes the process for registering an EMS and selecting a registrar.

Section 6
Discusses other sources of assistance your organization can use to build and sustain its EMS.

Provide case studies, sample environmental policies, other sources of information, and information on EMS standards. In addition, the Tool Kit provides sample EMS procedures and other tools that your organization can tailor to fit its EMS needs. The sample procedures are adapted from actual EMS procedures used by other companies that have implemented an EMS.


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