When H&S Becomes SHE
When companies decide to address environmental matters, they may appoint a new dedicated member of staff. Or it may fall to the H&S Officer, or someone in facilities or HR, to take on the role. These staff may feel overwhelmed, lacking the knowledge or skills to adapt from H&S to ‘SHE’.
Before you start, understand your company’s objectives. Is it to save money, comply with current or future legislation, improve reputation or implement ISO 14001 for tender applications? This will guide your approach.
Review your organisation to identify its main environmental aspects & impacts. These could involve energy, waste, carbon emissions, travel, materials use, biodiversity, discharges or procurement.
From these, identify your action plan – set tasks, responsibilities and timescales. Don’t try to do everything at once. Start with the most significant and manageable activities.
Make sure you’re legally compliant. Like H&S, there is a host of environmental legislation.
Set targets for improvement and report on your progress, communicating regularly with your colleagues.
Combine your systems. H&S and Environmental Management Systems have a lot in common following the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, so it makes sense to link them. Auditing, monitoring, management involvement & awareness raising could be done together to avoid duplication of process.