An insightful study was conducted on behalf of Defra (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to deliver robust evidence on the environmental and financial benefits of certified EMSs (Environmental Management Systems) for Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from both manufacturing and service sectors. This study supports the green benefits described in an earlier post: Green Business is good business
SMEs are a vital part of the local and national economy accounting for 99.9% of all enterprises in the UK, and providing 59.8% of all private sector jobs in 2009. Due to their sheer number SMEs collectively have the potential to exert significant pressures on the environment but face a number of obstacles to addressing these pressures including lack of resources, specific expertise, information and awareness. Despite the vast number of SMEs in the UK a very small proportion hold a certified environmental management system (EMS).
The study was undertaken with site-visits to a sample of 31 SMEs to collect in-house data on water, waste, energy and raw materials savings since EMS implementation. Additionally, qualitative surveys with a selection of staff members were undertaken to determine whether social benefits have been seen, such as increased staff morale or reduced turnover. Both of these stages were supplemented with interviews with key members of staff, such as Operations Managers and Site Managers.
The secondary aim of the study was to use the evidence to increase SME uptake of accredited EMSs as a method of unlocking the latent environmental and financial savings that are believed to exist in the SME sector as a whole.
Further details on this study and a copy of the final report can be found at http://bit.ly/rzBNLw