An Environmental Management System (EMS) is used to systematically manage environmental aspects and impacts, fulfil compliance obligations such as legal requirements and the requirements of interested parties, to address risks and opportunities, and to continually improve environmental performance. It is based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle.
An EMS can be certified to the international standard ISO14001:2015. Certification is done by an accredited Certification Body. In the UK accreditation is given to the Certification Body’s by the United Kingdom Accreditation Scheme (UKAS)”.
An Integrated Management System (IMS) is used to systematically manage the quality, environmental, health, and safety (QUENSH, HSQE, SHEQ) aspects* of an organisation, to fulfil compliance obligations such as legal requirements and the requirements of interested parties, to address risks and opportunities, and to continually improve performance. It is based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle.
The advantage of an IMS against individual Quality, Health and Safety, and Environmental Management Systems is that it integrates all these aspects into one system, and better reflects how a business works. This integrated approach makes the system more efficient by having one set of documents, one internal audit, one review.
The IMS can be certified to ISO9001:2015 Quality, ISO14001:2015 Environment, ISO45001:2018 H&S, ISO27001:2022 Information Security. The clauses in these standards are very similar and integration is simple, but guidance is available in PAS99 is the Publicly Available Standard for Integrated Management System.
* Some companies also include Information Security, Business Continuity, Social Value, and other aspects of the business in the IMS.
IEMA is the membership body for environment and sustainability professionals