C2.13 Training


Whether there is a formal EMS in place or not, it is essential that all employees understand:

  • What the environmental impacts of their organisation are.
  • How their roles affects these impacts.
  • What the implications of the impacts are.
  • What mitigation is in place.
  • How it affects their role.


You will therefore need to develop an awareness and training strategy.

If you are concerned about getting approval from the powers that be, remember that not all training has to be formal and not all training has to be expensive!

You will be able to develop many simple training packages for delivery in house, such as toolbox talks. For the awareness raising, you can use posters and if there are already communication vehicles such as employee newsletters, ask for a regular section in that.

The topics that you may need to prepare training and awareness raising material on will vary depending upon the activities of the organisation and the associated environmental impacts. Some organisations may only need a handful of packages, whilst some organisation may require a suite of a hundred. However, as a starter for 10 they might include:

  • EMS
    • General overview.
    • Training on each specific procedure or set of forms that relate to the EMS (e.g. purchasing, communication, complaints, incidents etc).
  • Incidents
    • How to report environmental incidents.
    • Location of spill kits etc.
    • What to do in the event of an incident.
  • Waste
    • Waste management.
    • Waste segregation.
    • Waste disposal.
  • Water
    • Water reduction.
    • Water pollution.
    • Working near watercourses.
    • Groundwater.
    • Water discharge.
    • Water abstraction.
    • Over-pumping.
    • Destination of drains.
    • Water monitoring.
  • Energy
    • Energy reduction.
  • Materials Storage
    • Oil storage.
    • Dry materials storage.
    • Soil storage.
  • Protected Species
    • Training on each specific relevant species (e.g. badgers, bats, Great Crested Newts, otters, water voles, nesting birds etc).
  • Invasive Species
    • Training on each specific relevant species (e.g. Japanese Knotweed, Giant hogweed, Himalayan Balsam etc).


In terms of training you will need to make sure that the relevant people get the relevant training. You will quickly alienate people if you make them attend irrelevant training sessions (such as sending canteen staff on a briefing about avoiding pollution when conducting oil changes in vehicles).

Some organisations may split up the training into categories based upon task. To do this you would look at the activities conducted in your organisation and determine what training needs were involved in each task. For example, you might select vehicle maintenance as the task and then decided that anyone involved in that may need to know about water pollution (spillages into drains), oil storage and waste (reduction, segregation, disposal & hazardous waste).

Some organisations may split up the training into categories based upon work location. To do this you would look at the different work locations in your organisation and determine what training needs were involved for each. For example, you might select the office as the location and then decided that anyone who works there may need to know about energy reduction (carbon footprint), resource use (printing double sided etc.) and waste segregation.

Smaller organisations may simply look at each individual employee and allocate training requirements to them on a personal basis. This is possible with a small organisation (but impossible if you have thousands of employees).

There is no correct way of doing it, as it will depend upon the nature of the organisation in question.

You will also need to consider what training different levels of staff will need. For example, the Managing Director will not need to know about waste segregation in detail, but will need an overview of the benefits of an EMS and perhaps an update on stakeholder engagement.

Do not forget your subcontractors. Many office paper recycling schemes have fallen down because no one told the cleaners about it. I have seen cleaners taking waste paper from the recycling bins and mixing it with the normal office waste. They hadn’t been told and so it was not their fault.

Finally, consider any language issues that you may have in your organisation. Not everyone will speak English as a first language. In some organisations you will have employees who do not understand English at all. There will also be varying degrees of literacy. Posters with pictures rather than text are useful for both of these situations.