How to Plan Environmental Audits

How to Plan Environmental Audits I was pleased to share my experiences of environmental auditing again recently on a very well attended IEMA webinar. I was joined by Gillian Gibson (Gibson Training), Ben Goodwin (IEMA) and Matthew Goldberg (National Grid). We are all part of IEMA’s Environmental Auditing Committee, a working group of experts ranging from consultants, in-house auditors and UKAS the organisation that oversees certification bodies. We are reviewing the IEMA Register of Environmental Auditors and prepared briefing papers on the value of environmental auditing. The committee has also developed a series of webinars, some for experienced auditors and others for those new to the industry – the latter, the Environmental Auditing 101 series, examines different elements of auditing and the ISO 14001 standard. This, our most recent webinar, was titled ‘Planning, scoping & resourcing for successful audits’. This was obviously a subject of great interest as we had over 500 people join us. Pitfalls of not planning Why should you prepare for an environmental...
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Seize the Net Zero Opportunity Webinar

Seize the Net Zero Opportunity Webinar In my latest webinar for Gatwick Diamond Business, I teamed up with Zoë Osmond of University of Brighton to show how businesses can Seize the Net Zero Opportunity. I started with an introduction to climate change and #ShowYourStripes, plus the benefits organisations see when embedding the environment into their business practices. Zoë spoke about the Green Growth Platform (delivered nationally now via Clean Growth UK) and the support available to businesses to drive green innovation. Advice, seminars, grants and events – all aimed at driving the local carbon sector. Your Net Zero Journey I finished with Your Net Zero Journey. It can be complex so I’ve distilled it down to a five-stage process, that’ll ensure your journey is straight-forward, achievable and successful. For more details on this, see here. Check out the webinar here on YouTube: My sections are at 0.49 and 33.09 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyMPqwGq6j4&t=3s If you’d like green innovation support, check out Clean Growth UK services here.   _____________________ Liked this post? Sign up for the...
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My webinars with Sussex Innovation

Check out my webinars with Sussex Innovation Over summer I’ve been busy doing webinars. These have been with a variety of organisations, including Gatwick Diamond Business, IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management) and Sussex Innovation (SINC). Check out below the 2 webinars I did with SINC as part of their Survive & Thrive series. I spoke about the benefits of environmental management, my business and the challenges/opportunities of Covid-19.   Sussex Innovation’s Survive & Thrive series - Sustainable Futures We've all seen and heard about the positive impact that lockdown has had on the environment. For many of us it has given us pause for thought about how we can maintain and build upon these sustainable behaviours as we move towards the "next normal", but what does this mean for businesses? This webinar explores how small businesses can seek to reduce their environmental impact, and the benefits of doing so. The panel includes: - Steve Creed (Creed Management Solutions) gives giving an introduction to and the benefits of...
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Why use UKAS accredited certification bodies

Certification - Why you should use UKAS accredited certification bodies You know I often extol the virtues of an Environmental Management System (EMS), using the ISO 14001 standard. It is a great way to manage your impacts & costs, comply with the law & engage with your customers & staff on issues that are important to them. Although you don’t need to get it certified, it is good practice to do so. Externally certification gives validity to the EMS, demonstrates you are serious about the quality of your system & helps identify where to improve. UKAS accredited certification bodies You would bring in auditors from a certification body to do this. 'Cert bodies' may cover a range of standards (ISO 14001, 9001, 27001 etc) and/or industry sectors. Certification bodies are themselves overseen by UKAS, the National Accreditation Body, which is responsible for determining the technical competence & integrity of these organisations. Maybe surprisingly it is not mandatory to use a UKAS accredited certification body, even...
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Using ISO 14001 to go Net Zero

Using ISO 14001 to go Net Zero Net Zero is the new buzzword. With so much more interest in climate change nowadays, from individuals & companies alike, it is not surprising that many businesses are committing to reduce & even neutralise their carbon emissions. The trouble is, most people don’t know where to start. It’s exciting to set the goal, but to achieve it requires a considered approach. Luckily, that’s where ISO 14001 comes in. ISO 14001, the Environmental Management Systems (EMS) standard, offers a formalised framework for identifying your environmental impacts, including climate risks & carbon emissions.   ISO 14001 EMS & Climate Change My latest webinar for IEMA was attended by nearly 200 people. I shared the virtual stage with Marek Bidwell, Nick Blyth of IEMA & also Kirit Patel of DHL Supply Chain, who gave an overview of DHL’s Environmental Management System & approach to risks & opportunities. I spoke about how ISO 14001 can be used to turn climate aspirations into reality. Climate...
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Adapting my business during Covid-19

Adapting my business during Covid-19 How have businesses adapted during the Covid-19 crisis? Are female entrepreneurs thriving during these difficult times? What changes need to be made to existing business models? I was pleased to discuss these issues in the SINC Female Founders webinar run jointly by with Sussex Innovation Centre & Gatwick Diamond Business, as part of their Survive & Thrive series. I shared the screen with 2 other female founders - Daniela Carl, Deputy Chief Executive of the Regional Studies Association, and Oanh Brophy, head of a circular economy start up. The objective of the session was to introduce our businesses & discuss how we had adapted during the pandemic. Here’s what I covered.   Effective Environmental Management during Covid-19 I shared my story – my why, my business, my services. I started with ‘My Why’ – my love for our beautiful, complex & wonderful world. It’s important to me & what drives my career in environmental management. Indeed, many more people nowadays feel the same. Recent research by...
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Tell me your Environmental Stories

Tell me your Environmental Stories “Where do your machines go when they die, Daddy?” A talk with his young daughter prompted the MD of medical manufacturing company to start their environmental journey, managing energy, materials & waste – all done through their ISO 14001 Environmental Management System. With the ongoing pandemic, I’m making use of the time I used to spend travelling. Rather than learning a new language or baking sourdough bread, I’m finally getting round to writing my book. It’s all about how, why & when to put in an Environmental Management System.   Do you have environmental stories to share? For my research, I want to speak to businesses, particularly SMEs, who have an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System. Why did they get started? How involved is senior management? Did they use a consultant? How long do staff spend each month? What motivates staff to be part of environmental projects? What’s the weirdest thing found in the audit? Anecdotes & stories are really useful, especially when...
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10 Top Tips for a great Environmental Policy

10 Top Tips for a great Environmental Policy All organisations should have an Environmental Policy. It’s a great way to communicate with customers; particularly in the B2B supply chain, they often ask for the policy & supporting data. The benefits of having a policy include: Shows commitment to good environmental management Embeds the environment into core business practices - finding efficiencies & cost savings, reducing pollution, saving energy & addressing climate change Shows leadership & links to executive responsibility Simply communicates to stakeholders (including staff & customers) Helps drive change & keep up momentum. Your Environmental Policy is often people’s first introduction to your environmental activities. So, remember to make it interesting, relevant and available. But where do you start?   Here are my 10 Top Tips on how to write a great Environmental Policy: The policy is meant for everyone to see, so make sure it's easy to read and understand - not too dry or filled with jargon. Keep it short - one A4 sheet...
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10 Golden Rules of Remote Auditing

10 Golden Rules of Remote Auditing 400 webinar delegates asked for more help With the continued Covid-19 disruption, the use of remote environmental audits is now common place. Remote audits allow organisations to continue with the established audit programme, ensure the EMS works well & staff are properly engaged. This is relevant for internal audits & especially important for third party audits (annual surveillance visits & certification audits). I was recently part of the expert panel on a webinar for IEMA – we gave advice on how to prepare for & conduct remote audits, from the perspective of both auditors & auditees. We had over 400 people on the webinar, with lots of great questions asked. And the feedback was – more help please! So, the panel sat down & wrote a short guide - The 10 Golden Rules of Remote Auditing. Again helping auditors & auditees prepare & get the best out of their audits. The Golden Rules are supported by simple pieces of...
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My Story, My Mission, My Vision

My Story, My Mission, My Vision On this World Environment Day, I wanted to share my story. Much environmental messaging comes across as (slightly) negative – we’ve got to stop doing / reduce / prevent XYZ or it’ll devastating for us / the planet / wildlife / oceans. And yes, this is true. It is important to change. But negativity & fear don’t motivate most people. It can be much more inspiring to focus on the positive… to have something wonderful to aim for. So, I thought I’d share how I got involved in environmental management (My Story), what I’m trying to achieve (My Vision) and how I go about this (My Mission).   My Story My Story begins with me, aged 10, sitting on the floor in front of the TV watching the wonderful David Attenborough’s Life on Earth. This series was so inspirational to me, seeing the beautiful world around us, its diversity & fragility. We are so lucky to live here & benefit from...
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Build Back Better

Build Back Better During the Covid lockdown some positives have come out. Many of us appear more kind & compassionate – people offering to be NHS Volunteers & helping neighbours with food shopping. We consider our health & wellbeing - families cycling down once busy roads & a significant reduction in air pollution (clearer skies with fewer cars & planes). Not just individuals, businesses are making masks & visors for NHS staff, raising money for charities or donating services to local companies or groups in need. Why should we simple return to the 'old ways' as we start to reopen? We have an opportunity now to change things with greater benefits for society, the planet and the economy – to build back better. You may have seen #BuildBackBetter trending. Just think how much better it could be – healthy, clean, just. We will all benefit! This reflects the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – 17 goals to achieve by 2030 for an environmental, social &...
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Jargon Buster

From Access Economy to Zero Carbon – here’s the Jargon Buster Environment A-Z   The environmental industry can seem a little cliquey to the outsider. Maybe we talk in TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms!), abbreviations or just use words that are so outside the sphere of ‘normal people’. For years I have tried to avoid using the term ‘sustainability’ because it immediately turned people off – using ‘environmental’ (even though this is only one of the three elements of sustainability) makes it immediately more understandable. As experts we want to get it right, but we do have to consider our audience. The environmental news site edie has helpfully put together a Jargon Buster. This is a useful tool if you can’t tell the difference between carbon neutral & net zero; can’t get your head around biomimicry or biodiversity; want to get to grips with ISO 14001 & ISO 50001; or to differentiate between supply chain & value chain. This helps you cut through complexity and get straight...
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Remote Auditing Webinar

Remote Auditing Webinar In response to substantial demand & addressing a significant need in the industry, I recently was part of a webinar put on by IEMA on remote environmental auditing. This was for IEMA’s “Adapting to COVID-19” series, helping environmental professionals adapt to new ways of working during the lockdown & beyond. I was part of the panel of experts, reflecting on my experiences of running remote audits – the benefits & pitfalls, plus also how to prepare. The webinar was chaired by Nigel Leehane, an experienced auditor & consultant. Myself & Neal Barker of WSP gave the auditor’s perspective, and we heard from the auditees: Nigel Sagar of Skanska & Matthew Goldberg of National Grid. We were also joined in the Q&A by Paul Greenwood of UKAS.   Remote Auditing - The Key Points The key points I shared, from an auditor’s point of view included: Test the technology – new systems, connectivity, security restrictions. Firstly – technology: Zoom, Teams, facetime, whatsapp. Does it work (for both...
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ISO 14001 & the SDGs

ISO 14001 & the SDGs ... Can your EMS save the world? I was pleased to recently deliver a webinar for BSI & IEMA on Using ISO 14001 to support delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. A Trucost report showed SDG alignment generated $233bn in revenue for 13 of the world’s largest companies last year. But wider research by KPMG showed companies are struggling to get boardroom buy-in and PwC found 40% are still not meaningfully engaging with SDGs. There are clearly business opportunities, but do they know how to deliver the Global Goals within the organisation? My webinar examined how using a structured system like ISO 14001, this could be achieved.   UN SDGs - The Global Goals There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals, supported by 169 targets (see my blog for more info). 8 of these SDGs can be directly delivered using an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS), and 4 indirectly. I discussed the relevant targets for each goal & how they...
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Getting Boardroom Buy-In

Getting Boardroom Buy-In - my report back from edieLive Last week I attended the annual conference & exhibition edieLive at the NEC. It was a great mix of exhibitors, speakers, workshops & general networking. I met with clients & contacts - it’s always nice to have a catch up - plus I met plenty of new people - useful for collaborations, referrals, potential clients & simply learning from others. I also had a busy day in the Energy Efficiency Theatre, chairing & presenting two sessions. Here’s a summary of the main points I covered.   Getting Boardroom Buy-In Many environmental professionals have difficulties engaging with senior management, who may be too busy or simply not interested. So I gave some insights for getting boardroom buy-in. I first asked the simplest of questions - who are you trying to reach? This is Marketing 101 - you have to understand your target audience. I floated some ideas of what the Board wants & what’s important to a typical director. Then,...
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Energy Efficiency Grants

Energy Efficiency Grants Did you know that there are grants & other finance opportunities available for businesses? Grants of up to £10,000 are available for energy efficiency works & other business development, though these will depend on your size (usually for SMEs), location & sector. Here are two examples of grants schemes that I know of in the South East.   LoCASE – business support for low carbon sector LoCASE is a scheme administered by the University of Brighton’s Green Growth Platform to drive green business growth in East Sussex, Kent & Essex. There are two elements of the grants scheme, firstly to help SMEs in low carbon & environment sectors with business growth & R&D grants. Grants of up to £10,000 covering 40% of the cost, for projects to help grow your business or develop new products & services. Grants can fund: Energy efficiency measures Development finance - to enable expansion of the business (e.g. marketing costs) Plant & machinery - including re-tooling & installation of...
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Combining your EMS & QMS

Combining your EMS & QMS Got quality, now want environment? A number of my clients have a functioning Quality Management System, often certified to ISO 9001, and now want to manage their environmental impacts. Rather than starting with a blank piece of paper, it would make sense to use the existing system & adapt it to meet the needs of ISO 14001. Many of the ISO standards have changed recently, deliberately using the same high level structure (HLS) so that management systems can now be more easily merged – processes, responsibilities & documentation can be fully integrated. This reduces the amount of time and effort needed to fulfil the requirements. While there are differences between the two standards (such as environment-specific requirements in ISO 14001), they revolve around 10 common clauses: Clause 1 – Scope Clause 2 – Normative references Clause 3 – Terms and definitions Clause 4 – Context of the organisation Clause 5 – Leadership Clause 6 – Planning Clause 7 – Support Clause 8 – Operation Clause 9 – Performance...
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Clean Air Day 2018

Clean Air Day 2018 It’s important to get your colleagues involved in your Environmental Management System. Running a campaign (ideally reflecting national or international ones) provides a good focus. 21st June is Clean Air Day. Run by Global Action Plan, this year the campaign’s theme is cutting one pollution source – traffic. Achieving clean air requires millions of people to decide to travel differently around our cities and towns; make it easy for them to change with this one first step. I ran my first transport campaign years ago, with a Car Free Breakfast for people coming on foot, by public transport, bike or motorcycle. Once we even got someone come along in a husky sledge! Here are some more ideas you might try: Take it EV. Get electric car drivers to take a colleague or a neighbour for a spin, so that they are encouraged to choose an EV (electric vehicle) when they upgrade. Meet virtually. Do you really need to travel to...
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News for 2018

Environment in Business - News for 2018 All companies should be embedding the environment into their business to get the commercial benefits. I work with organisations to identify improvements, calculate carbon emissions & put in Environmental Management Systems (EMS), so that you become more efficient, reduce risk & win new business. This year, you should be aware of deadlines & legislation requirements that may affect your business.   ISO 14001 Deadline Does your organisation have an EMS (Environmental Management System) certified to ISO 14001? If so, then you need to upgrade to the new version of the standard by the deadline September 2018. There are some significant changes required, which need to be ASAP - including context of the organisation, leadership, risks and opportunities, life cycle & evaluation of performance. More info is here. I’ve helped a number of organisations with the transition - making it smooth & successful.   ESOS Phase 2 ESOS (the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme) is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for large organisations in the UK....
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Duty of Care

Duty of Care - What Should I do with my Business Waste? All businesses are legally required to manage their waste. But recent research suggests that more than half of UK companies do not fully comply with Duty of Care and 94% of those are SMEs. Mostly this is because they don’t know what they need to do.   It is a legal requirement (Environmental Protection Act 1990 - Duty of Care Regulations) that the producers of waste must: Apply the waste hierarchy Separate and store their waste correctly Dispose of the waste using licensed waste carriers and disposal methods Keep waste documentation correctly. All waste Duty of Care paperwork must be held for a period of two years (three years for hazardous waste).   If you don’t use a licensed waste contractor, you risk them simply dumping your waste (fly-tipping) - if this is traced back to you, you are still liable for prosecution, even if you had acted in good faith.   Follow the waste...
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