Clearly explaining your environmental management system (EMS) to your employees is vital. The more involved your staff are, the more committed they will be - making it easier to operate your system effectively.
Although you should keep all staff up to date, some employees will need more information about environmental issues than others. This will depend on the area they work in and how much responsibility they have.
Employees should have enough knowledge of the issues and commitments affecting their work activities to allow them to carry out their EMS objectives.
Motivating staff and encouraging employee input
As people often see environmental issues in global terms, it can take time for employees to appreciate the impacts of their working practices. So it's a good idea to explain the implications for the business if procedures aren't followed.
It is essential:
- to communicate clearly how the EMS affects departments and individuals
- that senior management continues to show commitment
- to ensure that employees are given the necessary training whenever their role changes
Internal communication about your environmental management system
To ensure effective internal communication, you should:
- inform employees in advance about the EMS and encourage them to start thinking about the part they can play
- keep employees updated throughout the process - eg by using an environmental noticeboard, internal emails or memos, meetings, your intranet or team briefings
- ask employees for their ideas - those doing a job every day often have ideas about how things can be done more efficiently
- be open - provide both good and bad feedback
- make sure employees understand and see the value of EMS procedures through suitable training
- set up frequent environmental management team meetings
Contractors, suppliers and external stakeholders and your EMS
Contractors and suppliers form part of your EMS and should be given a copy of your environmental policy. You should also make contractors aware of any environmental issues at your site.
If the contractor's duties require a higher degree of awareness, you should provide a contractor training session. This could include a short introduction to business procedures and requirements, and a presentation highlighting environmental issues on site.
Ask contractors to sign a form acknowledging that they have received the information, as external certification requires documented evidence that training procedures are in place.
You could provide information about your EMS to external stakeholders by providing information on your business website and in an environmental report.