Frequently Asked Questions
How can Imvelo support my business?
If it’s environmental training that you’re looking for, check out this blog we’ve written covering the 10 biggest reasons why we are well-positioned to educate, enable and inspire your amazing staff.
If it’s a consultant you’re after, jump on the phone and book us in! Here are 10 reasons why an Environmental Consultant can change everything in a really positive way.
What is Global Warming?
Global Warming is the gradual temperature increase in the Earth’s atmosphere. This change is due to the greenhouse effect that is caused by high levels of carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and other pollutive gases entering the atmosphere in huge amounts.
The planet is warming, from North Pole to South Pole. Since 1906, the global average surface temperature has increased by more than 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) — even more in sensitive polar regions. And the impacts of rising temperatures aren’t waiting for some far-flung future–the effects of global warming are appearing right now. The heat is melting glaciers and sea ice, shifting precipitation patterns, and setting animals on the move. (Reference: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/global-warming-effects/)
What is Climate Change?
Climate Change is the topic regarding global and regional changes in climate patterns, especially the rapid changes that have been monitored since the mid 20th century. The changes are attributed to atmospheric carbon dioxide, much of which is as a result of burning fossil fuels.
Many people think of global warming and climate change as synonyms, but scientists prefer to use “climate change” when describing the complex shifts now affecting our planet’s weather and climate systems. Climate change encompasses not only rising average temperatures but also extreme weather events, shifting wildlife populations and habitats, rising seas, and a range of other impacts. All of these changes are emerging as humans continue to add heat-trapping greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. (Reference: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/global-warming-effects/)
What is sustainable resource consumption?
“Sustainable Development Goal 12 – Sustainable consumption and production is about promoting resource and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, and providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all. Its implementation helps to achieve overall development plans, reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, strengthen economic competitiveness and reduce poverty.” – https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-consumption-production/
On the 13th September 2018, Tamma Carel of Imvelo Ltd delivered a seminar as part of the RWM (Resource and Waste Management) Conference & Exhibition 2018.
The ISO14001:2015 transition aims to ensure that environmental management systems can address the environmental and wider sustainability challenges faced by organisations operating in a globalised economy.
“Since sustainable consumption and production aims at “doing more and better with less,” net welfare gains from economic activities can increase by reducing resource use, degradation and pollution along the whole life cycle, while increasing quality of life. There also needs to be significant focus on operating on supply chain, involving everyone from producer to final consumer. This includes educating consumers on sustainable consumption and lifestyles, providing them with adequate information through standards and labels and engaging in sustainable public procurement, among others.” https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-consumption-production/
Sustainable resource management allows businesses to implement actions in relation to the selection, sourcing, usage and re-use of materials, at both an organisational level and across the value chain. Organisations are realising that robust resource management is good for the environment and for business.
What is an Environmental Management System?
A management system is the way in which an organisation manages the inter-related parts of its business in order to achieve its objectives. These objectives can relate to a number of different topics, including product or service quality, operational efficiency, environmental performance, health and safety in the workplace and many more (Reference: https://www.iso.org/management-system-standards.html)
An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a structured system designed to help organisations manage their environmental impacts and improve environmental performance caused by their products, services and activities. An environmental management system provides structure to environmental management and covers areas such as training, record management, inspections, objectives and policies.
Implementation of an environmental management system requires the following steps to be completed by an organisation:
- Develop an environmental policy that reflects its commitments;
- Identification of how the organisation interacts with the environment (Significant Aspects);
- Identification (and maintained awareness) of relevant legal and other requirements;
- Establishment of environmental objectives, targets and programs;
- Monitoring and measurement of the progress to achieve objectives;
- Reviewing the system and environmental performance; and
- Continuous improvement of the organisation’s environmental performance.
By design the system and environmental performance run in a continuous improvement cycle as per the image below:
Figure 1 Image Source: http://www.traibcert.org.uk/images/continual-improvement.png
What is ISO14001?
ISO 14001:2015 sets out the criteria for an environmental management system and can be certified to. It maps out a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective environmental management system. It can be used by any organization regardless of its activity or sector.
- ISO 14001 REVISION
ISO 14000 was revised in 2015. Get an overview of ISO 14001:2015 and its benefits in this handy Webinar presentation.
What are Significant Aspects?
Section 6.1.2 of ISO 14001 requires organisations to identify their environmental aspects and “determine those aspects that have or can have a significant impact(s) on the environment”. This process is designed to allow an organisation to focus attention on the aspects of the business that have (or can have) the most significant impact.
The determination of significant aspects allows top management to determine the biggest risks and the biggest opportunities with regards to environmental performance in the development of the EMS.
What are Compliance Obligations?
ISO 14001:2015 defines Compliance obligations as “legal requirements that an organization has to comply with any other requirements that an organization has to or chooses to comply with”. In the note, it further states “Compliance obligations can arise from mandatory requirements, such as applicable laws and regulations, or voluntary commitments, such as organizational and industry standards, contractual relationships, codes of practice and agreements with community groups or non-governmental organizations.”
So,14001 requires organisations to develop an understanding of their compliance obligations, both regulatory and voluntary. There is more emphasis on understanding the expectations of stakeholders and determining those that should be addressed. These could range from commitments to investors or customers about carbon emissions, applicable industry performance standards, local community agreements, and any other commitments made by the organisation.
Identifying environmental aspects and impacts and then reviewing environmental compliance requirements should be completed when developing an environmental management system. Material, such as inspection checklists and procedures, to assess and manage legal compliance should be developed. An effective and correctly developed environmental management system should therefore assist organisations with meeting their environmental legal requirements.
What is HSEQ?
Health, Safety, Environment, and Quality (HSEQ) is a discipline and specialty that implements practical aspects of environmental protection and safety at work to make sure that business activities do not cause harm to anyone. Commonly, Quality Management – is adjoined to form the job function known as HSEQ.
From a safety standpoint, it involves creating procedures for identifying workplace hazards and reducing accidents and exposure to harmful situations and substances. It also includes training of personnel in accident prevention, accident response, emergency preparedness, and use of protective clothing and equipment.
From an environmental standpoint, it involves creating a systematic approach to complying with environmental regulations, such as managing waste or air emissions all the way to helping organisations reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
What are Integrated management systems (ISO14001/ ISO9001/ ISO45001)?
An Integrated Management System (IMS) integrates all of an organisation’s systems and processes into one complete framework, enabling an organisation to work as a single unit with unified objectives.
Organisations often focus on management systems individually, often in silos and sometimes even in conflict. A quality team is concerned with the QMS, often an EHS manager handles both Environmental and Health and Safety issues, or a SHEQ Manager handles Safety, Health, Environment and Quality, etc.
Integrating the common elements of each of the Management Systems allows the process to be streamlined and ensures that they are strategically implemented and working to support each other.
Figure 2 Image source: https://3mv9gpe7yj71ew6so2sds2nm-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/IMS_Venn.png
How does the ISO14001 certification process work?
Accredited certification to ISO 14001 is not a requirement, and organisations can still benefit from using the standard without going through the accredited certification process.
However, third-party certification – where an independent certification body audits your practices against the requirements of the standard – is a way of signalling to your stakeholders that you have implemented the standard properly. What is more, for some organisations, it helps to show how they meet regulatory or contractual requirements.
What does ISO14001 accreditation mean to my business?
Implementing a certified EMS, will help your business to:
- Comply with increasing environmental legislation and avoid the risk of financial penalties and damage to your business reputation;
- Understand environmental risks to ensure business continuity;
- Improve resource efficiency and identify cost savings throughout processes;
- Identify and set achievable improvement targets;
- Communicate your company’s environmental credentials to employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders; and
- Control your processes to protect and enhance the natural environment.
Regardless of whether certification is the objective, we work closely with our clients to ensure that the systems that are put in place are appropriate and effective in the context of the business and organisational culture.
What is the Waste Hierarchy?
The old waste hierarchy was a tool released in 2008 as part of the EU Waste Framework Directive. It lists the order that waste management should occur in, from most to least preferable, in order to minimise environmental impacts.
It looks like this:
- Preparation for reuse
- Other forms of recovery
‘Zero Waste Europe’ is the European network of communities, local leaders, businesses, experts, and change agents working towards the same vision: phasing out waste from our society.’
ZWE have kindly spent a great deal of time, research, and mental energy in creating a new waste hierarchy. One of their main objectives for this project was to draw attention away from waste and place the attention onto resources. It is believed that this simple change can create a mindset transition from waste management to resource management. Instead of considering how to safely dispose of waste, we should be considering how to safely preserve the resources involved, for both the current economy and future generations.
Their new hierarchy looks like this:
- Reduce and Reuse
- Preparation for Reuse
- Recycling/Composting/Anaerobic Digestion
- Material and Chemical Recovery
- Residuals Management
Figure 3 Image source: https://resource.co/article/new-zero-waste-hierarchy-circular-economy
With the focus now being put on resources, the priority has to be keeping resources in use for as long as possible. This is the thinking behind the top two tiers ‘Refuse / Rethink / Redesign’ and ‘Reduce and Reuse’. How do we stop waste being produced in the first place and create cultural and behavioural changes to stop things like single-use plastic items? How do we incentivise businesses to make their products better or more intelligently packaged? How do we encourage businesses to pursue zero-waste goals?
ZWE believes that EU policies should work harder to explore these areas and make businesses act more intentionally.
We have more detail on this in our Blog section!
What is the Waste Duty of Care?
The Duty of Care, or General Duty of Care is a piece of legislation under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 that states that anyone who produces, imports, handles, keeps, stores, transports, treats, or disposes of waste, must take every reasonable step they can to ensure its proper management.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has issued code of practice (the Code) which sets out practical guidance on how to meet your waste duty of care requirements. It is issued under section 34(7) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (the EPA) in relation to the duty of care set out in Section 34(1) of that Act.
You must take all reasonable steps to:
- prevent unauthorised or harmful deposit, treatment or disposal of waste
- prevent a breach (failure) by any other person to meet the requirement to have an environmental permit, or a breach of a permit condition
- prevent the escape of waste from your control
- ensure that any person you transfer the waste to has the correct authorisation
- provide an accurate description of the waste when it is transferred to another person
Failure to comply with the duty of care requirements is a criminal offence and could lead to prosecution.
If you need some help managing your waste compliance – contact us today and we would be happy to help!
What is a carbon footprint?
A carbon footprint is measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). The carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) allows the different greenhouse gases to be compared on a like-for-like basis relative to one unit of CO2.
CO2e is calculated by multiplying the emissions of each of the six greenhouse gases by its 100-year global warming potential (GWP).
A carbon footprint considers all six of the Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gases: Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
According to the Carbon Trust, the main types of carbon footprint for organisations are:
- Emissions from all the activities across an organisation, including buildings’ energy use, industrial processes and company vehicles.
- Includes emissions which are outside an organisation’s own operations (also known as Scope 3 emissions). This represents emissions from both suppliers and consumers, including all use and end of life emissions.
- Emissions over the whole life of a product or service, from the extraction of raw materials and manufacturing right through to its use and final reuse, recycling or disposal.
- Emissions from the raw materials and services that are purchased by an organisation in order to deliver its service(s) and/or product(s).
How much is a tonne of carbon?
One tonne of carbon has a financial value of £18 per tonne. Some UK industries pay for their carbon through the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, where prices are around €18 per tonne.
One tonne of carbon is roughly the output of one adult in the UK each month. In terms of physical size, it’s about the size of a three-bedroom house.
Figure 4 Image source: https://14joshko.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/cop1513tonneofco2meglowman5.jpg
What is IEMA?
IEMA is the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment. It is the UK’s largest professional body for environmental practitioners and can boast around 15,000 members.
Members received updates on current environmental law and legislation, and the group organises over 100 regional events on environmental topics to communicate current best practice guidance.
It also publishes Transform magazine 12 times a year, publishes the Practitioner best practice workbooks on individual environmental themes, and organises national conferences that feature national experts and opinion.
IEMA membership aims to ensure that candidates are knowledgeable, competent and highly trained. Organisations are challenged to operate in an environmentally considerate fashion, and the UK Government’s agenda on climate change and low carbon and resource-efficient economy has meant that IEMA is consulted on major issues, with IEMA involving its members in a majority of these consultations.
IEMA also approves training course providers to deliver environmental training There are currently over 80 IEMA-approved training providers, of which Imvelo is one! We deliver the IEMA Sustainability Skills for Managers course – find out more on our training page!
What is IEMA Accredited Training?
Imvelo are an IEMA Approved Training Partner and deliver IEMA Certified courses. IEMA Certified courses have a prescribed specification developed by IEMA with a focus on enhancing professional development.
Through rigorous quality assurance processes, Imvelo works with IEMA to ensure you will complete the course with the knowledge and competencies validated by an individually recognised professional body.
Learners attending IEMA Certified courses will be entitled to an IEMA certificate. IEMA Training can also facilitate replacement copies if needed at a later date, thanks to the unique identifying number generated with successful completion of the course.
We deliver the IEMA Sustainability Skills for Managers course – find out more on our training page.