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MEI Online: Environmental Issues: Latest News: September 16th 2003

:: New Study Asks: What Use are Environmental Management Systems?  

Companies in the UK and Ireland are being asked to take part in a pan-European study to assess the benefits of formal environmental management systems (EMS) in improving environmental performance.

The study is the latest stage of the remas project - a three-year, pan-European study led by the Environment Agency of England and Wales, and funded by the EU. Organisers hope it will prove a direct link between the use of EMS and positive environmental performance.

A spokesperson for remas told edie: “Everyone assumes that EMS provides value in terms of performance but there's never been a comprehensive study. We have to prove it works in the first place."

Every firm that signs up will receive a free and confidential report benchmarking them against their sector and across the whole of Europe.

Project manager, Martyn Cheesbrough, said: “By establishing how specific elements of an EMS may improve performance, we will help operators and regulators to work more efficiently to safeguard the environment."

EMS standards, like the ISO 14000 series and the EU's eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS), provide management tools to determine the environmental aspects of an organisation's activities. Both standards are voluntary, market based instruments, which can apply across all types of organisation.

So far, remas has attracted a number of signatories in the UK including Lafarge Cement, Hydro Polymers Ltd and Pilkington Plc. Companies from the aluminium, cement and lime, chemical firms, iron and steel, glass, paper and pulp, refineries, power generation, food production and waste sectors are being invited to take part. Companies with or without certified EMS are equally eligible.

Companies can take part in the study by filling in an online environmental management questionnaire.



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