MANCHESTER Met are the first UK University to achieve the newly revised and more challenging international Environmental Management System (EMS) standard- ISO14001:2015, demonstrating a clear commitment to managing and improving our environmental performance.

Over the last three years, the EMS has been implemented using the phased approach of the EcoCampus scheme, which has provided a structured approach for the University to work towards the ISO standard.

Alex Hobbins, Project Manager for EcoCampus, said: “We are extremely pleased with the progress that Manchester Met has made through the EcoCampus Scheme. Having achieved certification to the new ISO14001 standard indicates that the EMS is fully embedded across the University, demonstrating the commitment to improve environmental performance.”

A  three-day external audit, involved two auditors from the global certification company NQA interviewing a wide range of staff, reviewing our Environmental  Policy, Strategy undertaking a number of site visits,  and  checking our environmental procedures and legal compliance.

Manchester Met has developed an innovative approach to sustainability in HE, covering both the physical estate of the University and also integrating sustainability into teaching and research.

Richard Walsh, Lead Assessor from the NQA Audit Team, said: “It is very clear that the University at all levels takes its commitment to environment management fully on board and with the very strong leadership demonstrated by the senior management team has put itself at the forefront of sustainable development in the higher education sector.”

Paul Kingsmore, Director of Services and Chair of the University’s Environmental Stratgey Board, said: “Being the first University to achieve the ISO14001:2015 standard is a great achievement, and demonstrates our continued commitment to place environmental sustainability firmly at the heart of our strategic leadership and business operations.”

Helena Tinker, Environment and Energy Systems Manager, said: “We are extremely proud to be the first University to achieve the revised standard. The auditors praised our proactive actions and our approach to embedding environmental sustainability into our organisation. Achieving the revised more challenging standard is credit to the hard-work of everyone involved across the University.”

Changes to the standard

ISO14001 is one of ISO’s most widely used standards and was revised in order to keep it current and relevant for the marketplace. The newly revised standard (ISO14001:2015) is designed to respond to latest trends and ensure it is compatible with other management system standards.

The key changes relate to increased prominence of environmental management within the organisation’s strategic planning processes, greater focus on leadership and the addition of proactive initiatives to protect the environment from harm and degradation, such as sustainable resource use and climate change mitigation.

How we fared

We were commended as having a very successful audit, particularly, our compliance with the requirements of the new  criteria in the standard, the evident strength of commitment and engagement across the whole organisation,  strong leadership, and our proactive actions and initiatives across the whole organisation.

Manchester Met has demonstrated that we have an effective ‘systematic and process driven approach’– meaning that we can demonstrate how we control aspects of University business that have or could potentially have a significant impact on the environment. The ISO14001 standard is founded on the principal of continuous improvement and the Deming Cycle to ‘plan, do, check, and act’.

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