More business leaders need to engage with environmental management

A third of environmental managers reported that their company’s leadership team had little involvement in environmental management, according to a survey

The revised ISO 14001 requires more integration of environmental management into operations. Photograph: Dmitriy Shironosov/123RFA third of environmental managers say their top executives have “little involvement” in environmental management.

This was one of the findings from a survey of 110 environmental managers conducted by consultancy WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff.

But a third said leaders were “involved” or “very involved” in environmental management, and another third said there was “moderate involvement”.

However, respondents displayed a lack of faith in their environmental systems. Only a quarter said they had “complete confidence” in their system’s data and 8% said they had “no confidence” in it.

Just one in three said environmental management was “well integrated” into daily operations.

The results come at a time when 15,000 certified firms should be starting to prepare for a revision to ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental management, which demands more involvement from leadership teams.

Full integration of environmental management into operations is an essential requirement of ISO 14001.

David Symons, environmental director of WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, said businesses should aim to benefit from “huge opportunities to cut costs, increase resilience and to profit from emerging megatrends such as the sharing and circular economies. Yet environmental issues are still seen by many firms as a middle management, operational issue”.

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