Guide to Understanding ISO 14001

Best Practice Guide

Importance of environmental management systems (EMS) in the age of climate disasters

According to the United Nations, climate change is the defining crisis of the age, outpacing projections from mere years ago . And those projections weren’t exactly rosy.

Even the “business as usual” trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions is forecasted to cause irreversible damage. Much of which we are seeing already: glacier and ice sheet melting leading to stark sea level rise, which imperils almost two-thirds of the world’s major metros, situated as they are within 100 km of a coast.

Nor are environmental crises only of concern for city dwellers. A reported 90 per cent of today’s disasters are now classed as weather- and climate-related. Those disasters, including heatwaves, droughts, cyclones, and wildfires, have been hitting every continent at an accelerating pace.

Besides inter-governmental climate commitments, what else can organisations and communities do? Well, environmental protection agencies advise regulated entities to implement environmental management systems (EMS).

An EMS is a framework that helps organisations achieve their environmental goals through consistent review, evaluation, and improvement of environmental performance. The thinking goes that through consistent review and evaluation, organisations will be better positioned to identify the precise opportunities available (to them) for implementing and improving environmental performance. And even though the EMS doesn’t prescribe environmental performance levels, it does help organisations achieve those levels when they are set.

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