UK Museum First Registered Environmental Management System


15 July 2003

The Natural History Museum is the first museum in the UK to achieve registration for its Environmental Management System under the stringent criteria of the British Standards Institution's (BSI's) quality system ISO 14001.

'The Natural History Museum celebrates the wonder of the natural world and encourages people to value and respect the diversity of life on Earth, so it's fitting that we are the first UK museum to achieve this registration,' says Tony Dolding, project co-ordinator. 'This achievement shows that the messages we promote through our exhibitions are reflected in our daily working practices behind the scenes.'

The Estates Department has spent three years leading a complete overhaul of the environmental practices of the entire Museum - an organisation with 850 staff based across three sites. The BSI conducted three audits in the Museum over a period of 10 months, before awarding the registration.

The project covered all the Museum's work, but with a particular focus on waste management - the most challenging aspect of the entire scheme. Before the project began, the Museum only recycled white paper and metal. Now all materials, from wood to electrical equipment to chemical waste, are recycled as far as possible.

The registration covers all three of the Museum's sites: South Kensington, Tring and Wandsworth. With energy and environmental policies now in place, the Museum's Environmental Management System will be independently audited by BSI every six months to ensure this high level of environmental awareness is maintained and continually improved in the future.

How green is the Natural History Museum?

  • paper and card - 85% recycled (the Museum uses 100% recycled paper)
  • wood - 65% recycled
  • toner cartridges - 95% recycled
  • IT and electrical equipment - 90% reused or recycled
  • furniture - 70% sold or given to charity
  • Cooking oil - 100% recycled 

'The Natural History Museum has made substantial improvements to its environmental policies, and waste management in particular,' says Mark Barthel, Head of Environment, Sustainability and CSR for BSI Group. 'We hope other museums will follow the Natural History Museum's example and we will be encouraging them to develop their Environmental Management Systems.'


Notes for editors

  • The Natural History Museum is one of the UK's top visitor attractions and a world-leading science research centre. Through its collections and scientific expertise, the Museum is helping to conserve the extraordinary richness and diversity of the natural world with ground-breaking projects in 68 countries. The Museum is committed to promoting public understanding of science. This has been greatly enhanced by the Darwin Centre, a major new initiative, which offers visitors unique access behind the scenes of the Museum. Phase One of the project opened to the public in September 2002 and Phase Two is scheduled to open in 2007. 
  • ISO 14001 is the internationally recognised standard for Environmental Management Systems (EMS). First published as a standard by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) in 1996, it provides a framework for the development of environmental performance control for all types of businesses and organisations, as well as including guidelines on environmental auditing. 
  • The implementation of an Environmental Management System (EMS) is key to any organisation managing its impact on the environment and is a critical part of a risk management strategy. Companies' environmental performance can have a significant impact on their success and an effective EMS can reduce costs and improve efficiency. 
    If you would like to arrange an interview, request images or further information, please contact Sarah Hoyle, Kristy Jones or Rebecca Chetley

The Natural History Museum Press Office

Tel: 020 7942 5654 

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For more information please contact:

Wilma Tulloch on +44 (0)20 8996 6330 OR
Marc Edney on +44 (0)20 8996 6330