An environmental management system (EMS) is a collection of documentation and practices that govern how your organization integrates sustainability into its operations. Think of it like a sustainability playbook — a detailed layout of your game plan, special plays, team roles and roster. An EMS not only helps your organization excel at game time, it will help you pick up points on GRESB, particularly in the Monitoring aspect. In fact, more than 30 different GRESB questions touch on an EMS.
Let’s look at some common questions about an EMS and how you can apply best practices sourced from the Measurabl community.
What is an EMS?
An EMS consists of a set of documentation and data that (1) draw a boundary around the organization, entity or asset to which the system is applied, (2) establish goals and define (3) personnel roles and (4) processes and procedures for (5) measurement, monitoring and reporting.
What are some examples?
The most common EMS is ISO 14001. Another common one is EMAS.
How is an EMS different from a data management system?
A data management system (DMS) is the infrastructure (often software) used to collect, monitor and store environmental information. Measurabl is a DMS. A DMS, though, is only one dimension of your EMS which must also include documentation that defines “who, what, when, where, how” of your sustainability program and a process of continuous improvement that melds these ingredients together.
Is it difficult to establish an EMS?
Yes, it can be. An EMS will take significant up front time and resources to establish, and annual maintenance to keep relevant. No matter how much you invest in an EMS, though, it all begins with well documented environmental performance goals and a data system for tracking progress towards these goals.
|GRESB Indicator||Opportunity||Why It’s Important||How to Improve|
|1.1||Revise sustainability objectives to include more specific information||The first component of an EMS includes well defined objectives, such as reducing carbon emission by 10% YOY.||
|8||Revise sustainability policy to include more granular metrics and progress tracking||A sustainability policy should state how you integrate non-financial metrics into your decision making. This helps higher ups factor environmental goals into financial targets.||
|20.1||Create an EMS||An EMS demonstrates a committed effort to improving sustainable performance. It will allow you to identify resource consumption inefficiencies, and establish an integrated framework for implementing strategies to meet your environmental and financial performance targets.||