DO

  • DO conduct a gap analysis of where you are and where you need to be.
  • DO schedule a ‘sense check’ visit with your external auditing body once about 75% of the developmental phase is complete.
  • DO engage as early as possible with influencers in the organisation. Escalation for slow progress through the correct avenues will be critical to keeping to your timeline.
  • DO take the transition opportunity to streamline and reduce previously burdensome processes. This may include central document storage and access, to ensure that companies across a global system are able to support each other.
  • DO refer out to processes within your organisation that already exist. E.g. management review groups whose remit for discussion could be expanded slightly; or reporting frameworks like GRI that already establish a structured process for communicating environmental information to interested parties.

DON’T!

  • DON’T duplicate. To ensure consistency in application, especially with global multi-site certificates, its important to standardise approaches. However, along the way, keep a record of processes that are seen as duplication, and be sure to address these duplications once transition is complete.
  • DON’T tick all the boxes. There are only certain clauses which require documented evidence. There is no need in over-doing it with new processes and documented ways of working. By referring out to existing documents and even other departments which specifically own critical areas (e.g. sales teams [for lifecycle considerations in service-based companies]), you are then also able to show the level of business integration that your environmental management system has achieved.

For me, the most important ‘update’ to the system is checks on its integration into a business. As without this, and executive advocacy, the EMS will fail to prove its true value to an organisation implementing it.