Steps to Environmental Management (STEM)

Brighton & Hove City Council encourages its suppliers to reduce impacts throughout their supply chains. Potential suppliers are asked whether they have an Environmental Management System (EMS) in the Pre Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ).

The council recognises that not all businesses are in a position to invest time and money in an externally certified EMS such as ISO 14001 and so it is providing support for them through the STEM programme.

STEM is a step-by-step approach to implementing an EMS in small or medium sized businesses. STEM is currently free and participating businesses self-certify their progress towards improving their environmental performance.

Benefits to your business

  • Enhances sustainability credentials
  • Reduces costs by removing inefficiencies
  • Assists you in maintaining a legal business
  • Prepares you for attaining the Carbon Trust Standard, BS 8555 or ISO 14001


STEM is currently free to businesses that are members of the South East Business Carbon Hub. If you haven't joined yet, full details are on the Business Carbon Hub page. Carbon Hub is part of a European funded project called Low Carbon Essentials. Other free services to help businesses reduce costs and improve their environmental performance include one day UTILISE Utility Management workshops as well as Low Carbon Business Audits, and Green Chain - a suppliers directory for green products and services.

What's involved in STEM?

STEM has three levels; blue, silver and gold. These levels correspond to the first three phases of the British Standard for EMS; BS 8555. This standard was specifically designed for smaller organisations for whom ISO 14001 is too time and resource intensive. BS 8555 breaks the process of getting an Environmental Management System into manageable steps.

Blue STEM icon

Blue - A business that has top management support for their environment program and has carried out a baseline assessment of their current situation.

Silver STEM icon

Silver - A business that has measured their carbon footprint and taken actions to reduce it. The business has identified the resources, legal requirements, training and communications required for their environmental program.

Gold STEM icon

Gold - A business that is measuring and monitoring their environmental impacts and has taken action to reduce them. The business will have reported their progress on the South East Business Carbon Hub.



A business can reach Gold level in about 12 months. Some businesses may be able to achieve this faster if they have already started improving their environmental performance. It is estimated that each level will take about 4 months.

Renewing your certificate

The STEM certificate is valid for 12 months. You will have to re-submit your assessment annually to maintain accreditation.


In order to maintain the standard of the scheme, some businesses will be audited by an advisor. You will be given two weeks notice of this audit and a list of the documents you need to present as evidence. Necessary guidance and assistance for this audit will be provided.

Following on from STEM

There are three main recognised standards for EMS: ISO 14001, EMAS and BS 8555. Brighton & Hove City Council holds ISO 14001 for its Events & Venues EMS. A further standard has been developed by the Carbon Trust.

How to apply to join STEM

If you would like more infomation or to attend contact;

You can see a list of the STEM accredited businesses on Kent County Council's website.