UN entities worldwide now have access to a new digital tool to design and implement their Environmental Management Systems (EMS). The UN EMS Toolkit was created with the specific needs of UN entities in mind - providing an online data management tool to turn the UN’s engagement on environmental sustainability into action.
The UN System has made bold commitments to achieve climate neutrality and improve the environmental sustainability of its operations. In May 2019, the UN’s Heads of Agencies committed to “adopt environmental management approaches based on the principles of continuous improvements and on the integration of sustainable development considerations on all our internal management functions to ensure that opportunities for improvements are captured wherever possible.” But achieving these commitments will not happen without a systematic approach.
What is the UN EMS Toolkit?
An EMS is the engine of “continual improvement” that help keep UN entities focused and moving in the right direction towards internal sustainability.
The UN EMS Toolkit is an online application designed to help make the UN’s work on environmental management more secure, effective and connected.
UN entities can use the UN EMS Toolkit in different ways:
- For entities just getting started on an EMS, the Toolkit can be used as a training tool for personnel to learn more about the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle of an EMS, guided by practical tips and UN case studies.
- For entities ready to implement an EMS, the Toolkit offers an online knowledge management tool where users can collect, manage and record the supporting documents and information for an organisation’s EMS in a secure, central location.
What are the benefits of using this Toolkit?
Designing an EMS is an ongoing process of planning, learning and adaptation that will allow for continuous improvement for an organisation’s environmental performance over time. International organisations typically have high turnover rates and knowledge can be lost if stored only in local documents. In addition, some organisations may need several offices and locations to access relevant information on their environmental management.
- Practical guidance & examples: Explanatory guidance, practice tips and case studies are available for each EMS requirement just a click away - drawn from trusted international standards (e.g. ISO 14001) and UN best practices.
- Reduced risk of lost files: All EMS data and documents are stored and backed up on a secure UN server, reducing the risk of losing or misfiling data.
- More collaboration, fewer redundancies: Colleagues across offices, region and globally can work together to collect, verify and adapt the EMS data, with all inputs securely saved and accessible in a cloud-based location.
- Makes reporting easy: Users can quickly export attractive summary reports that can be edited as needed to meet the reporting needs of various stakeholders.
- Builds institutional memory: Records are securely stored from year-to-year allowing users to quickly access past records and understand how the EMS has evolved - so that progress continues even with staffing changes.
- Offers a “UN EMS Library”: Implementing an EMS requires the development of many documents from strategies, action plans, evaluations etc. UN entities can help each other implement and innovate on EMS more quickly by sharing documents in the Toolkit’s central online library.
How to get started?
Getting started with the UN EMS Toolkit is easy. Officially-appointed UN-System personnel can use their official email address to create an account. Further information and a quick start guide is available there as well.