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An Evidence-based Study into the Benefits of EMSs for SMEs - EV0440

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are a vital part of the local and national economy accounting for 99.9% of all enterprises in the UK, and providing 59.8% of all private sector jobs in 2009. Due to their sheer number SMEs collectively have the potential to exert significant pressures on the environment, but face a number of obstacles to addressing these pressures including lack of resources, specific expertise, information and awareness. Despite the vast number of SMEs in the UK a very small proportion hold a certified environmental management system (EMS). The purpose of this study was to deliver robust evidence on the environmental and financial benefits of certified EMSs for SMEs by surveying selected SMEs from both manufacturing and service sectors. The subsequent aim was to use this evidence to increase SME uptake of accredited EMSs as a method of unlocking the latent environmental and financial savings that are believed to exist in the SME sector as a whole.

The bulk of the study required the researchers to undertake site-visits to a sample of 31 SMEs to collect in-house data on water, waste, energy and raw materials savings since EMS implementation. Additionally, qualitative surveys with a selection of staff members were undertaken to determine whether social benefits have been seen, such as increased staff morale or reduced turnover. Both of these stages were supplemented with interviews with key members of staff, such as Operations Managers and Site Managers.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : FINAL REPORT: An evidence-based study into the benefits of EMSs for SMEs   (1917k)
• OTH - Other : Case Study 1 - Futures Supplies & Support Services   (234k)
• OTH - Other : Case Study 2 - Ketley Bricks   (278k)
• OTH - Other : Case Study 3 - Lowaters Nursery   (237k)
• OTH - Other : Case Study 4 - Warren Board Sales   (170k)
• TPS - Two Page Summary : Two page summary: An evidence-based study into the benefits of EMSs for SMEs   (187k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2009

To: 2011

Cost: £160,250
Contractor / Funded Organisations
WYG Environment and Energy
Business/Public Sector              
Environmental Performance              
SME Services              
Sustainable Consumption and Production              
Sustainable Development              
Fields of Study
Sustainable Consumption and Production