Comment on standard for phased implementation of environmental management systems

5 August 2016

BSI, business standards company has revised BS 8555 Environmental management systems – Phased implementation – Guide. The standard was originally published in 2003, and provides guidance for all organizations on how to implement an environmental management system (EMS) or work towards ISO 14001 using a phased approach. BS 8555 is now at public comment stage until September 2016.

What does BS 8555 offer?

  • A step by step approach to setting up an environmental management system• A series of stages that an organization can work through with the option to stop at any point or work through to become ISO 14001 ready
  • Advice on the integration and use of environmental performance evaluation (EPE) techniques during the implementation process; and the coordination of such an EMS with other management systems, where appropriate
  • It has been updated to ensure that it continues to help organizations improve business processes, save money and deal with future environmental challenges 

EMS standards have been shown to help organizations develop their business whilst reducing the environmental impact of growth, decrease waste and save energy. They can help businesses become more innovative, improve management system process, meet regulatory requirements and enhance corporate reputation among investors, customers and the public. BS 8555 can help organizations stay abreast of the changes in the environmental arena, ensuring they remain ahead of the curve.

Who can BS 8555 help?

  • BS 8555 is for all sizes and sectors of organization who want to start to work on their environmental management system
  • It can be useful to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) who need a framework to work to, but who can choose to stop at any of the 5 stages. The standard helps SMEs to achieve regulatory requirements and demonstrate to stakeholders that they are giving consideration to environmental impacts whilst helping them to manage resources and changes in circumstances
  • It is useful to large, multi-site companies because it provides a framework and step-wise approach that all sites can work to in order to implement ISO 14001

What has changed?

  • A robust approach in terms of managing risk and compliance with legislation during phases 2 and 3
  • Phases and stages have been updated to reflect changes in BS EN ISO 14001:2015, such as understanding the context of the organization, an increased focus on leadership, improvement in environmental performance and a new focus on risk and opportunity
  • Phase 6 and the associated guidance has been removed in order to simplify the standard and make it easier for people to use 

David Fatscher, Head of Market Development for Sustainability & Services at BSI, said: “A successful EMS helps organizations remain commercially successful without compromising their environmental responsibilities. However, such projects can sometimes seem daunting and management may be unable to commit the required resources. By phasing implementation with BS 8555, all organizations, regardless of the nature of the business activity undertaken, location, or level of maturity, can improve their environmental performance.”

BS 8555 was developed using a collaborative consensus-based approach with input from such experts as CIRIA, IEMA, UKAS, the UK Environment Agency, as well as environmental consultants, some of whom took part in the recent major revision of ISO 14001. Comment on the standard here.