Environmental Management Systems (EMS) for Retail

EMS – a proven approach to ensuring compliance and advancing performance 

Environmental Management Systems (EMS) are a widely used, systematic, yet flexible approach to managing compliance and improving environmental performance. The Retail Compliance Center (RCC) EMS Guidance is customized for retail operations to create roadmaps and tools for implementing a retail EMS or evaluating a compliance program. The Guidance consists of explanatory modules as well as Excel-based tools, forms and sample procedures that can be downloaded and modified to fit unique retailer operations.  

This guidance is based on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 standard for environmental management which follows a Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle of continuous improvement. This guidance can be used to optimize an existing EMS, pull compliance programs into an EMS framework or to develop a new EMS. The material can also be used to design or evaluate a compliance program without implementing an entire EMS. 

Download the EMS Guidance Modules in PDF and the EMS Tools in Excel.

Getting Started 

This module introduces EMS concepts, explains how retail operations fit into the EMS structure, and covers the steps to successfully implementing or optimizing an EMS.



Plan Module 

Covers the planning steps for building an EMS including the Scope & Policy; Environmental Aspects; Legal and Other Requirements; Objectives and Targets; and Environmental Programs.



Do Module 

This module presents the processes needed to implement an EMS including Roles and Responsibilities; Training; Communications; Documentation and Controls and Emergency Planning.



Check Module 

This final module covers how to monitor results and make adjustments to improve performance over time including Monitoring and Evaluation; Nonconformance; Records; EMS Audits; and Management Review.



Sample Procedures 

This file contains sample EMS Procedures that can be modified to fit specific situations.



We did not forget an "Act Module." In the Plan-Do-Check- Act cycle, information on results and effectiveness from the Check step is used to adjust the EMS to improve performance. To keep your EMS relevant and effective, periodically revisit the Plan and Do modules and update your EMS as needed.



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