Many organizations seek ways to understand, demonstrate and improve their environmental performance. This can be achieved by effectively managing those elements of their activities, products and services that can significantly impact the environment.
This International Standard sets out a process called environmental performance evaluation (EPE) which enables organizations to measure, evaluate and communicate their environmental performance using key performance indicators (KPIs), based on reliable and verifiable information.
EPE is equally applicable to small and large enterprises and can be used to support an environmental management system (EMS) , or used independently. An organization with an EMS in place can assess its environmental performance against its environmental policy, objectives, targets and other environmental performance objectives.
Environmental performance evaluation and environmental audits are complementary tools that can be used to assess environmental performance and identify areas for improvement. The key aspects (and differences) of these tools are the following:
— EPE is an ongoing process of collection and assessment of data and information to provide a current evaluation of performance, as well as performance trends over time;
— environmental audits can be used to gather such data and information, either as part of EPE, or as part of an environmental management system, to verify whether objectives and targets are being met;
— environmental management system audits are conducted periodically to verify conformity with specifications and compliance with legal and other requirements.
What are the benefits of BS EN ISO 14031?
- Improved identification and understanding of environmental aspects and impacts
- The use of indicators can help identify areas that have the potential to become more circular and sustainable, e.g. the proportion of recycled and renewable materials in a product or process
- The use of indicators can help identify processes to support the more efficient use of resources
- Stronger environmental performance gives greater assurance to stakeholders and can increase both credibility and reputation
- Supports implementation of an environmental management system because environmental performance evaluation can help identify significant risks, set objectives and targets, and track performance
- Recognition of good performance management can help an organisation with compliance with legislation, potentially reducing annual charges for permits and consents
- Organisations can harmonise and streamline significant performance indicators in sectors, assisting benchmarking