Meeting Environmental Legislation and ISO 50001

With mounting pressure from international agreements and Green movements, the importance of energy management has increased over recent years, especially as more legislation and regulations are implemented. With pollution and energy management targets to meet, there is a constant stream of new rules to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint. However, which regulations are the most vital and how can businesses make sure they are hitting the right notes when it comes to energy management?

All businesses – no matter how small – have legal environmental obligations to adhere to. Obviously there are more serious areas to be addressed for a nuclear power plant than the local village shop, but fines and sanctions are in place for anyone who is seen to be breaking the rules. It is also in a business’ interest to comply with legislation, as reducing the energy consumed in a business, can only reduce costs and therefore increase profits.

The Environment Agency is the authority which sets the legislation regarding the environmental obligations of a business which is set into a number of categories. But how can you ensure you’re conforming to the legislation?

Main environmental risks:

  • Use of water, raw materials and energy
  • Producing pollution and emissions
  • Waste management
  • Specific risks from industrial/agricultural businesses – hazardous material

Lower risk businesses, such as offices and shops are often covered by their Local Authorities but if you’re an organisation which has a high risk of causing environmental harm you will need to contact the Environment Agency. If you work in this area, there is a chance you will need an Environmental Permit. The permit will regulate what you can and can’t do and monitor any techniques you use with regards to energy management to ensure you’re conforming with the regulations. Often additional advice is sought through an environmental consultant.

More and more businesses however, are choosing to go beyond their legal obligation by installing energy management systems such as ISO 50001. This is an internationally recognised standard for energy management, which allows businesses to really concentrate on their use of energy by implementing efficient processes. The ISO 50001 certification will also allow businesses to really keep on top of the changing legislation, appointing staff members to control the system and keeping ahead of the legal changes means that your business has more time to effectuate changes so that compliance is constant.

Meeting regulations isn’t simply about ensuring that you’re not going to be given a hefty fine from the Environmental Agency, and taking care of the way in which you control your energy in your business can result in increased benefits for a business. For more information about energy use in businesses, which targets you should be meeting and also whether you could have support to introduce renewable technologies into your business, visit the Environmental Agency’s website.

Rebecca Field writes on behalf of QMS International, a company specialising in ISO certification. Their keep it simple approach and hassle free assessment process allows organisations to achieve certification in as little as 30 days.
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