An environmental management system (EMS) is "a system which integrates policy, procedures and processes for training of personnel, monitoring, summarizing, and reporting of specialized environmental performance information to internal and external stakeholders of a firm".[1]

The most widely used standard on which an EMS is based is International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001.[2] Alternatives include the EMAS.


The goals of EMS are to increase compliance and reduce waste:[3]


An environmental management system (EMS):[2]

EMS Model

The PDCA cycle[7]
The PDCA cycle[7]

An EMS follows a Plan-Do-Check-Act, or PDCA, Cycle. The diagram shows the process of first developing an environmental policy, planning the EMS, and then implementing it. The process also includes checking the system and acting on it. The model is continuous because an EMS is a process of continual improvement in which an organization is constantly reviewing and revising the system.[8]

This is a model that can be used by a wide range of organizations – from manufacturing facilities to service industries to government agencies.


Environmental Management Systems can be accredited under ISO14001

Other meanings

An EMS can also be classified as:

See also


  1. ^ Sroufe, Robert. "Effects of Environmental Management Systems on Environmental Management Practices and Operations." Production and Operations Management. 12-3 (2003): 416–431.
  2. ^ a b Melnyk, Steven A., Robert P. Sroufe, and Roger Calantone. "Assessing the Impact of Environmental Management Systems on Corporate and Environmental Performance."
  3. ^ Sayre, D., 1996. Inside ISO 14001: the competitive advantage of environmental management. St. Lucie Press, Delray,Beach, FL.
  4. ^ US EPA, OLEM (16 April 2013). "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle". Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  5. ^ "Environmental Regulatory Compliance & Corporate performance - Can You Have It All?". Emisoft. 26 October 2016.
  6. ^ Mali, Ria. "ERA Environmental Introduces Direct Upload to TCEQ's STEERS". Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Taking the First Step with PDCA". 2 February 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  8. ^ René, Gastl (2005). Kontinuierliche Verbesserung im Umweltmanagement : die KVP-Forderung der ISO 14001 in Theorie und Unternehmenspraxis. Zürich: Vdf, Hochsch.-Verl. an der ETH. ISBN 9783728130341. OCLC 181467595.
  9. ^ "Stedelijke ontwikkeling Archives - Hans Middendorp Advies". Hans Middendorp Advies (in Dutch). Retrieved 23 May 2018.