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The HSQE Department Ltd

Phased certificationof an Environmental Management System,
via the Acorn Scheme.

What is the Acorn Scheme?

The Acorn Scheme enables fully accredited inspection for organisations

evaluating and improving their environmental performance, using the phased
approach of BS 8555. These phases can be tackled incrementally at a pace
that suits the organisation and implementation of all phases can lead to ISO
14001 or EMAS certification. The scheme is administered by the Institute of
Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and is designed
particularly to suit the needs of SMEs.

An organisation can have progress verified at any stage of the 6 phase

programme and, following a successful inspection that confirms compliance
with the standard and legal requirements, would be issued with an IEMA
Acorn Certificate, have its details entered onto the IEMA Acorn Register and
would be allowed to use the Acorn logo.

Benefits of registration under the Acorn Scheme

1. Flexibility

The organisation can move at a pace that suits its business needs. The
scheme is ideal for small to medium sized organisations with a low to/
moderate risk to the environment. If this applies to your business, it may not
be necessary to move through all the phases.

2. Improved environmental performance and cost reduction

Environmental impacts and performance are measured from the start. This
allows an organisation to quickly evaluate where improvement and cost
savings can be implemented.

3. Confidence in knowing the level of legal compliance

The process ensures, at an early stage, that the organisation identifies

existing and future legal requirements and has an action plan to fill in any

4. Early recognition

Many customers accept that, by Phase three, the organisation has control of
its environmental impacts and risks. This is enough to satisfy their
requirement for low environmental risk.
© The HSQE Department Ltd 2009
6, Small Down End, Winscombe, Somerset, BS25 1JT.
01934 610168/07909 528942
5. Improved stakeholder relationships

The organisation can also use Acorn Registration to demonstrate their

commitment to sound environmental management to other stakeholders,
including suppliers, regulators and the general public.

The six phases of the certification process

1. Commitment and establishing the baseline

Phase one aims to secure commitment to environmental management and

performance improvement, identify the main environmental issues and cost-
saving opportunities, and start the participation of management & employees
in developing and implementing environmental improvement initiatives.

2. Identifying and ensuring compliance with legal and other requirements

Phase two aims to help identify relevant environmental, legal and other
requirements, then to develop and implement control measures to ensure
continued compliance with these requirements.

3. Developing objectives, targets and programmes

Phase three aims to establish the core elements of a functional EMS and
develop a structured framework for systematic environmental management
and performance improvement.

Phase three can provide a natural pause in the development of a full EMS as
it provides evidence for customers that the organisation understands its
environmental risks and has them under control. This is also a good point at
which to have the initial assessment by the certification body and obtain Acorn

© The HSQE Department Ltd 2009

6, Small Down End, Winscombe, Somerset, BS25 1JT.
01934 610168/07909 528942
4. Implementation and operation of the EMS

Phase four aims to enhance the management elements of the EMS, to

support the business and to ensure that changes that affect the organisation
can be integrated into the system without causing any drops in performance.
This Phase also helps to address the specific requirements of ISO14001 or

5. Checking, audit and review

Phase five introduces the discipline of auditing the EMS and undertaking a
management review. This will close the continual improvement loop for
environmental performance.

At the end of Phase 5, the organisation should have a fully functional EMS in
place & will be in a good position to be assessed against the requirements of
ISO14001 or EMAS.

6. EMS acknowledgement (getting ISO 14001 or EMAS)

Phase 6 will prepare the organisation for the final assessment by the
certification body.


The programme can be developed to match the pace that the organisation
wishes to adopt, but a realistic timescale for implementation is one phase per
month, giving full ISO14001 certification six months from the start date.

The HSQE Department Ltd. Can help you to implement your

EMS. To discuss your needs or to arrange a visit, please

contact us:

© The HSQE Department Ltd 2009

6, Small Down End, Winscombe, Somerset, BS25 1JT.
01934 610168/07909 528942

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