Business and the Environment Course Online | learndirect

Business and the Environment


Business and the Environment Course

In 1990 the concept of the environmental management system (EMS) was new to many organisations. However, it has subsequently developed very rapidly, becoming the subject of a number of international standards and schemes. The first national environmental management standard, BS7750, was published in 1992 and the European Union (or Community as it was then called) adopted the same basic approach in 1993 with the introduction of its Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). An international standard, ISO 14001, replaced BS 7750 in 1996. In this course we look at how these standards and schemes have developed, the differences between them, and what benefits an organisation can expect to gain from adopting a recognised EMS.

While neither ISO 14001 nor EMAS prescribe the level of environmental performance to be achieved, they do require a commitment to continual improvement. The extent of this improvement is for the individual organisation to decide and should be quantified in objectives and targets where practicable. At first glance, continual improvement may appear to be a particularly onerous commitment, but it is vital if the environmental management system is to be seen as credible by interested parties. This course looks at the importance and benefits of continual improvement, how it can be achieved, and how some of the barriers to its achievement can be overcome.

Any organisation undertaking a programme of continual improvement needs not only to establish procedures for its work processes but also to regard all procedures, and the processes to which they relate, as being capable of improvement. This course focuses on what is involved in improving work procedures and processes in order to reduce the environmental impacts of your organisation.

A sudden environmental crisis - such as a large fire, explosion, release of toxic gas or major water pollution incident - is probably the most feared occurrence by individuals with responsibility for an organisation's environmental performance. However, slow-acting pollution incidents can create a crisis that damages not only the environment but also the organisation, both financially and in terms of its reputation - and the reputation of its products - among the public.

Emergency planning is required to deal with any incident that could result in loss of life, ill health or damage to the environment.

By the end of the course you should be able  to:

(Session One)

  • Outline the basic principles underlying environmental management.
  • Describe some of the environmental management guidance, systems and schemes available to your organisation.
  • Describe the development and purpose of environmental management systems and standards.
  • Outline the main requirements and differences between ISO 14001 and the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), and explain the appropriateness of each to your organisation.
  • Describe the various methods available for implementing an environmental management system (EMS) in your organisation.
  • Outline the benefits of integrating an EMS into existing management systems within the organisation.

(Session Two)

  • Describe the importance of achieving continual improvement within the EMS.
  • Outline the benefits, risks and costs to your organisation of improving environmental performance.
  • Explain the importance of commitment at all levels in the organisation to the successful implementation of an EMS.

(Session Three)

  • Explain the role of working methods in the environmental performance of your organisation.
  • Outline the methods available for assessing the environmental impacts of work procedures and processes.
  • Explain how changes can be successfully made to work procedures and processes.

(Session Four)

  • Explain the environmental consequences of sudden and gradual pollution incidents.
  • Describe the measures to be taken in the event of a pollution incident occurring in your organisation.
  • Explain the importance of devising emergency plans to deal with the environmental effects of accidents.


Environmental Management Systems, Schemes and Standards

1.1 Environmental management principles
1.2 Environmental management systems and standards
1.3 Main elements of EMAS
1.4 Main elements of ISO 14001
1.5 Strategic environmental management
1.6 Integrated management

Continual Improvement

2.1 What is continual improvement?
2.2 Benefits of improved environmental performance
2.3 Challenges to the implementation of an improvement programme
2.4 The importance of commitment
2.5 Implementing a continual improvement programme
2.6 Sustainable development

Working Methods

3.1 The importance of environmental procedures
3.2 Assessment of procedures and processes
3.3 Implementing changes to procedures and processes

Response to Damage to the Environment

4.1 Fire, explosion and toxic gas releases
4.2 Contaminated land
4.3 Pollution of surface water
4.4 Emergency plans

For a more detailed syllabus on this course, click here


Assessment Method

After each lesson there will be a question paper, which needs to be completed and submitted to your personal tutor for marking. This method of continual assessment ensures that your personal tutor can consistently monitor your progress and provide you with assistance throughout the duration of the course.

What's Included

  • All study materials
  • Study Guide
  • Full Tutor and Admin support
  • The course fee includes the awarding body registration and certification fee (valued at up to £30.00).

What is NCFE

NCFE is the UK's longest established awarding body, recognised as a highly professional and responsive organisation, committed to maintaining excellent customer service and a friendly approach.

NCFE is recognised as an awarding body by the qualification regulators ('regulators') for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The regulators are the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual) in England, the Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DCELLS) in Wales and the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) in Northern Ireland.

Accreditation by NCFE is a guarantee of quality. It means that the college has been inspected and approved by an independent and experienced education professional and is quality audited biannually by NCFE. The centre delivering the programmes has been licensed by NCFE on the basis of its own quality systems. At the end of an accredited course, successful learners will also receive an NCFE Award certificate of achievement.

For more information on this award, click here


There is no experience or previous qualifications required for enrolment on this course. It is available to all students, of all academic backgrounds.

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