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Addressing Environmental Risk in Shopping Centres

Environmental impact is not the first thing that comes to mind when we pop down to the local shopping centre. However, going behind the scenes offers a very different viewpoint.

Many impacts need to be considered and managed including energy and water usage, waste management, potential water discharges (think car washes), noise, air conditioning, climate change resilience, flood risk, EPCs and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) obligations. I could go on and I haven’t even mentioned social, economic or health and wellbeing factors also at play. Left unmanaged, these issues can cause harm to the environment, waste money and even impact on asset values. This blog explores the benefits of implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS) to a shopping centre.

To provide a bit of background, I have worked at EVORA for 18 months now.  My role is varied and late last year I successfully completed my first ISO 14001 EMS implementation project. I thought I had better get my ideas down and quickly.


Proactive

Environmental issues are regularly dealt with on an ad hoc basis. Understanding risks and legal requirements is key in mitigating potential incidents and pollution events – otherwise they may only be identified after an incident has occurred. An EMS provides a proactive approach to managing risks as it provides a mechanism and structure to identify, understand and manage the site-specific issues appropriately.

As an example, a site I visited recently benefited from an interceptor, however, it had not been inspected for several years (due to access issues) and maintenance records did not exist. As a result, if there had been a significant spillage, the interceptor may have failed and resulted in a pollution event occurring in the local environment. An EMS, if implemented and used correctly, identifies risk, potential legal requirements and, in this case, would have ensured a regime of maintenance was implemented and sustained.

It could be argued that such an approach can be developed without an EMS – true – but in this case it was not.  Our project used EMS implementation to address this issue.


Legal Compliance

The environmental regulatory landscape can be a minefield for those unfamiliar with the subject. This can result in difficulties in maintaining legal compliance (you cannot comply with legislation if you don’t know what you have to do). Having worked for EVORA for the past 18 months, I have spent a lot of my time building up an understanding of the nuances and intricacies of environmental legislation.  Spoiler alert – it is never as straightforward as it seems! There are many different areas of environmental legislation applicable to shopping centres (and the wider arena of properties in general).

Examples include:

  • Ensuring that waste is stored correctly and disposed of appropriately, if treated on-site, waste exemptions must be considered
  • Maintaining the availability of accurate waste documentation
  • Ensuring EPCs are in place where applicable and compliant with MEES requirements
  • Arranging boiler servicing and F-gas leak testing to be undertaken in line with defined timescales by appropriately competent people
  • Maintaining the integrity of on-site fuel storage and associated systems such as interceptors
  • Bird control (one of the shopping centres we support has a significant seagull issue!)

An EMS can help ensure legislative requirements are understood and implemented.


 A Structured Approach

At first glance it can be difficult to understand the widespread benefits of an EMS. On my first EMS project I asked the question ‘Why are they were pushing ahead with ISO14001?’

On reflection, I think there are multiple reasons:

  • Structured control of environmental risks
  • Identification of improvement opportunities that reduce operating costs (energy savings)
  • Ability to demonstrate environmental credentials to the outside world.

An EMS provides a defined methodology for risk management. It can be implemented on a single site or across an entire business. Furthermore it can integrate with other systems (think health and safety or quality). The setting of objectives helps to manage risks (i.e. energy use) and improve performance often resulting in reduced costs. Progress is monitored in order to determine if objectives are on course to be achieved. This all drives continual improvement, which in turn ensures shopping centres with effective environmental management systems become more resilient to environmental risk and helps in future proofing the asset.


To Certify or Not to Certify

ISO 14001 is the international standard for environmental management. An EMS can be certified against this standard. This is not essential, however, it can be useful for an external party to certify the EMS as it can provide a fresh pair of eyes and helps to confirm that the system is working effectively. A certified ISO:14001 EMS provides external proof and strengthens reputation, provides good publicity for the business, improves GRESB scoring (where relevant) and is often perceived favourably by tenants.

Environmental Management Systems – Worth Far More than the paper they are written on!

If you want to find out more about Environmental Management Systems and wider sustainability strategies in shopping centres contact EVORA today.

ISO 50001 2018 revision

Earlier this week, the International Standard for Energy Management Systems (EnMS), ISO 50001 was given its official reboot through the launch of the 2018 revision; updating the 2011 issue. Organisations with existing ISO 50001 certifications have up to three years to transfer to the new standard. Whereas, businesses seeking energy management accreditation for the first time can progress directly with the 2018 version.


The ISO 50001 standard is an internationally recognised framework for the supply, use and consumption of energy in all types of organisations. As well as the direct benefits of saving energy, if you have an ISO 50001 energy management system that’s certified by an approved certification body and covers all your energy use, this can count as your company’s compliance route to Article 8 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme- ESOS – in the UK) .

The revision follows similar recent updates to other standards including ISO 9001:2015, and ISO 14001:2015, to include common terms, definitions and structures to provide a high level of compatibility across the ISO suite of standards.


The main changes in the 2018 revision include:

  • Adoption of “high level structure” and common terminology already reworked into ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015
  • Stronger focus of the role of top management and leadership engagement
  • More clarity on definitions, including “energy performance improvement”
  • Greater emphasis on risk-based approaches to improving energy performance
  • Clarification on exclusions of energy types
  • Clarification of energy performance indicator (EnPI) and energy baseline (EnB) text to provide a better understanding of these concepts.

The focus on continuous improvement remains active in the revised standard. Driving continual improvement is what EVORA specialises in and we can assist you in implementing and/or transitioning your energy management approach to the new ISO 50001 framework.


With our Plan, Do, Act approach, we can help you develop a tailored EnMS aligned to your business needs which takes account of practical measures in reducing your energy consumption. Contact our experts if you’d like to find out more.

12 months to transition to ISO 14001:2015 – A Systems Approach

Last week, our Director, Paul Sutcliffe, blogged on the transition to ISO14001:2015. Paul’s blog highlighted the main changes and opportunities associated with the new standard.

As a follow-up, I provide below, a deeper delve into the new standard requirements. It’s now just a year to go until the transitional deadline on 15th September 2018, at which point certificates for the 2004 standard will no longer be valid. Is it time to hit the panic button? Certainly not, but now’s the time to take action, especially since the deadline for many will likely be much sooner.

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Prioritisation is crucial – focus on integration

At this stage, prioritisation is crucial. Focus first on any changes to existing organisational processes; get this ball rolling from the outset. The key to be able to best demonstrate many of the new requirements is integration. In my experience, as both a consultant and an external lead auditor, integration of environmental management controls with existing business practices always proves to be the biggest hurdle but once achieved, the full benefits of the environmental management system (EMS) are realised.

As such, section 5.0 of the new standard – Leadership – is where initial efforts should be focused, particularly as this may involve changes to company processes which can often take time to embed. A conversation needs to be had with senior management to emphasise that they are not necessarily expected to do more, but they are expected to know more. This is best achieved through the incorporation of EMS requirements into existing business processes. For example, the introduction of environmental performance progress updates into management meeting agendas. Complying with the other requirements (known as clauses in the standard) will be made significantly easier with this approach. Clauses such as 7.0 Support, 9.0 Performance Evaluation and 10.0 Improvement heavily rely on management and so it’s important these areas are targeted in the first instance.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Focus first on any changes to existing organisational processes; get this ball rolling from the outset” quote=”Focus first on any changes to existing organisational processes; get this ball rolling from the outset”]

Prevent scope confusion – concentrate on context

Next, concentrate on the clauses where there is less of an impact on embedded company procedures, such as 4.0 Context. This clause does certainly require some thought and its importance is often overlooked. If applied correctly, it ensures continuity, clear boundaries and a sense of direction, preventing scope confusion and making everyone’s life, especially the auditor’s, much easier. Providing the previously discussed clauses have been addressed appropriately, the final two clauses left to mention, 8.0 Operation and 6.0 Planning, should be relatively straightforward to comply with. Of course, the industry type certainly makes a difference to the level of work required, particularly with the new ‘life cycle’ requirement under Operation. The ‘life cycle perspective’ sounds a lot more resource intensive than it needs to be, especially for office based companies. Remember, auditors are still finding their feet with the new requirements and will often be satisfied with evidence that this has at least been thought about, seismic changes to the company’s procurement policies are not going to be expected!

[clickToTweet tweet=”If applied correctly, it ensures continuity, clear boundaries and a sense of direction, preventing scope confusion” quote=”If applied correctly, it ensures continuity, clear boundaries and a sense of direction, preventing scope confusion”]

Practical solutions for tight deadlines

This blog is designed to provide more information on transition planning. EVORA are well versed and experienced in the transitioning process, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

Of course, it should also be mentioned that certification is not always necessary and many of our clients operate environmental management systems aligned (but not certified) to ISO 14001.  Regardless of certification status, the new ISO 14001 standard is a tool that if implemented correctly, provides a robust and effective framework that operates throughout the business, not alongside it. As a result, those with aligned systems should also consider changes introduced by the new standard, that will help deliver benefits.

[clickToTweet tweet=”ISO 14001 is a tool that if implemented correctly, provides a robust and effective framework ” quote=”Regardless of certification status, the new ISO 14001 standard is a tool that if implemented correctly, provides a robust and effective framework”]


For more information on updating your EMS to ISO 14001:2015, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.