Integrating environmental strategies should not be a necessary evil

Integrating environmental strategies should not be a necessary evil

There was a time when companies would do business with those who sold products or services at the best price. But times are changing and other factors are now being taken into consideration, particularly when building long term partnerships.

In today’s competitive marketplace, businesses are looking to show stakeholders a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and will do business with companies who share their vision.

CSR allows businesses to take responsibility for their actions by developing standards to achieve a balance of economic, environmental and social goals. One of the key areas organisations are increasingly addressing is their impact on the environment.

All companies, whatever size or sector they work in have an impact on the environment and should take steps to counter these effects. There are various drivers encouraging businesses to improve environmental performance – more stringent legislation and trading regulations for example. But all organisations can benefit from better environmental management systems and achieve significant savings. Environmental claims are easy to make but much harder to substantiate. But commitment can be demonstrated by achieving certification to a globally recognised standard such as ISO 14001.

However, one of the biggest impacts any business has on the environment is its use of energy. And as prices soar, reducing energy costs is a challenge. The launch of a new energy management standard – ISO 50001 – earlier this year helps organisations implement specific strategies to address this.  It allows companies to integrate energy performance into their existing management systems. And aside from promoting best practice in energy efficiency, it can easily be incorporated with a number of other management systems for an integrated approach.

Certification to ISO 50001 and ISO 14001 ensures any environmental claims are based on fact and is another step in proving to stakeholders that an organisation takes the environment seriously.

Implementing environmental policies, procedures and activities is not something that can be achieved over night. And for any scheme to be successful it needs to be understood and carried out by everybody within the company from the top to the bottom. But adhering to environmental practices should not be considered a necessary evil. Instead it should be central to any business strategy. The introduction of an effective environmental management system not only offers significant performance improvements but can also improve the profitability of businesses in the long term.

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