The UK government has committed itself to lead by example on sustainable development. The UK Sustainable Development Strategy, ‘Securing the Future’, sets out a long-term vision for sustainable development, including a package of challenging targets and commitments. The Climate Change Act 2008 is the world’s first legally binding framework to tackle the dangers of climate change.
‘Securing the Future‘ commits government to review its targets for the operational performance of its estate. In the government’s view, a ‘sustainably managed estate’ is one that has:
- modern, resource-efficient, low energy use buildings
- well conserved and managed land
- efficient use of space and ways of working
- the principles of sustainable development embedded into working practices.
In response to government requirements for departments to deliver sustainable management of their estates, we have established a business sustainability programme. One of the key outputs from this programme is the development and management of an Environmental Management System (EMS) which is being externally assessed for accreditation to ISO 14001;2004 - the international standard for EMS.
The National Forest Estate will continue to be managed and operated by the Forestry Commission under the UK Woodland Assurance Scheme (UKWAS). To complement this, our EMS and the ISO 14001 standard will apply mainly to our offices, workshops, nurseries, administrative and support functions thus making sure that we sustainably manage environmental impacts across all aspects of our business.
Key initiatives undertaken as part of our commitment to business sustainability.
What is sustainable development?
Sustainable development is that which meets our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Our Business sustainability programme is about how we build sustainability into our everyday working lives. This will include:
- building construction and management
- managing energy, water and waste
- procuring goods and services
- managing activities such as travel
We consider these areas key to our business sustainability programme and manage and certify them to ISO 14001:2004 under the EMS, the features of which are:
- An environmental policy which is publicly available and commits the organisation to complying with relevant legal and other requirements, continual improvement and preventing pollution
- Procedures that determine the significant environmental impacts of the organisation
- Setting objectives, targets and improvement programmes
- Defining responsibilities and authorities for environmental issues
- Developing competencies in environmental matters at all levels
- Implementing controls for the identified significant environmental impacts
- Monitoring and measuring performance
- Periodic review by top management of the EMS
Scope of our Environmental Management System
The Scope of our EMS includes utilities, transport, engineering, built estate management, forest research and forest nursery facilities. The scope is applicable across our organisation including the following departments:
- Silvan House
- Forestry Commission Scotland
- Forestry Commission England
- Forest Research
The locations to be covered by certification are the national and regional offices, district offices, engineering workshops, nurseries and research offices. Our primary activities which are identified on the Aspects and Impacts Register and are managed at these offices, include:
- Grants and Licences
- Plant Health
- Forest Research
- Forestry Management
- Estate Management
- Recreation and Education (out of scope where third parties operate facilities)