BS 8555, which helps SMEs work towards an Environmental Management System (EMS), is being updated by the British Standards Institution (BSI) to bring it in line with ISO 14001.
BS 8555 provides guidance for all organisations, but particularly SMEs, on the phased development, implementation, maintenance and improvement of an EMS.
Unlike ISO 14001, it is not a certifiable standard, but is designed to provide guidance for gradually implementing an EMS on more manageable step-by-step basis and can be a good way for SMEs to work towards the internationally-recognised ISO 14001 standard and gain recognition in the process.
It therefore helps organisations with fewer resources available for environmental management to reduce their environmental impact, cut waste, save energy, meet regulatory requirements and improve processes.
It also helps organisations to integrate and use environmental performance evaluation (EPE) techniques and coordinate their EMS with other management systems where appropriate.
The launch of BS 8555 in 2003 was the first time the challenges for UK SMEs to manage their impact on the environment were specifically addressed by standards bodies.
The update will reflect recent updates to ISO 14001, including its deeper emphasis on integrating sustainability more fully into business strategy and making top-level management accountable for environmental performance.
David Fatscher, head of market development for sustainability at BSI, said: “A successful EMS helps organisations 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 organisations – whatever the nature or scale of business – can improve their environmental performance.”