Our business is providing professional customer focused accountancy and taxation services. When requested we supplement accountancy and taxation advice with relevant environmental considerations. Clients often discuss many of the environmental issues raised within this website with us. Whatever your attitude and approach to environmental matters, we hope the pages in the section are useful to you. This page provides details of our Environmental Management Framework. Other guides available are Climate Change, Quick Guide and Carbon Offsetting.
GA Environmental Management Framework
We have developed an environmental management framework that is practical, understandable and relevant to freelancers, contractors, small and single person businesses in the UK.
The framework consists of five steps:
Step 1 Committing to take action
Step 2 Assessing your environmental impact
Step 3 Deciding on your targets
Step 4 Reducing your impacts
Step 5 Publicising your policies and actions
The time taken on these steps depends upon your business size, complexity and sector. It can be possible to work through all of these steps very quickly, potentially within one day. At the other end of the scale, a larger business might aim to complete each step over a number of months.
However much time you spend going through these steps, the commitment and actions should be incorporated into all of your future business decisions. The process should be ongoing with steps 1 to 5 repeated on a regular basis. It is good practice to consider this framework on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.
The framework steps in more detail:
- Committing to take action.
The Business Benefits section of the website gives lots of ideas about the benefits of small businesses managing their environmental impacts. We can provide presentations encouraging all areas of an organisation including senior management teams, departmental managers, productive and administrative staff.
- Assessing your environmental impact
We understand the impacts that a contractor or small business is likely to be incurring and identify those impacts that you can reasonably take action on. Our web pages in the Reducing Impacts section discuss many of the relevant areas.
We can provide and implement systems and software to record carbon emissions and other measurable impacts including water usage, landfill waste and paper products.
You may also want to link carbon emissions and other environmental records to your financial recording. This enables one point recording of both financial and environmental data. Reconciliations can be added to ensure maximum accuracy and audibility of environmental data.
- Deciding on your targets.
Part of preparing your policy is to set targets. Targets should be set in terms of efficiency. Emissions and resource use might be targeted as tonnes per thousand pounds of turnover or profit, water use as litres per person per day, heating as kWh per square meter of building space.
- Reducing your impacts.
There are many practical measures that reduce environmental impacts. To meet your targets, or just to reduce your impact from the current position you will need to take some actions. Many of these are inherently cost saving, tax saving or revenue building ideas. The actions are practical and follow a common sense approach.
- External reporting and publicising your credentials.
Having committed to action, reviewed your position, decided on targets and taken action, the next step is to publish the results. Many businesses put their environmental message across both informally in marketing and formally in regulatory statements. This helps the business directly and encourages your suppliers and customers to take note.
Environmental policies for small businesses are usually one page (or less) giving a succinct overview of the commitment, current performance and proposals.
An Environmental Statement will include all of the factors found in step 2, together with targets for each. This might be used internally or may form part of your business plan, annual report, marketing material or tender documents.
Formal management systems
You may be in the process of implementing a formal Environmental Management Systems (EMS) or ISO 14001 or be accredited already. These are worthwhile schemes and are particularly rigorous. EMS is a system of objectives, targets and programmes that lead to a reduction in environmental impact. ISO 14001 is based on setting your own targets and reviewing compliance with those targets.
BS 8555 is designed specifically for small and medium sized businesses. One of the stated purposes of BS 8555 is to reduce impacts on the environment and at the same time add value to the implementing organisation. Completion of BS 8555 can lead to obtaining ISO 14001.
Businesses in Wales have the additional option of implementing the Green Dragon Standard.
Whilst we do not advise on specific certifications, our framework and elements of it will be of benefit to businesses aiming for formal certification.