What is Ecomapping?

Ecomapping is a creative tool that helps small companies to implement environmental management , ISO 14001 and EMAS. This visual and practical tool helps SME managers and employees to analyse and manage the environmental performance of small companies and craft industries.

The purpose of Ecomapping is to provide small companies and organisations with a free, visual, simple and practical tool to analyse and manage their environmental behaviour. It involves making a map of an organisation’s site, for example, a shop floor, a workshop, an office, a community centre to create an understanding of an organisation’s current environmental situation.

Ecomapping is not a goal in itself, but a process framework that helps to define and prioritise environmental problems and issues to act upon. Once completed, Ecomapping can serve as the basis for a wider environmental management system.

Ecomapping has several functions as:

  • an inventory of environmental practices and problems
  • a systematic method of conducting an on-site environmental review and audit;
  • a tool that allows employee involvement and participation
  • an easy way to document and track environmental improvements;
  • a catalogue of immediate small positive actions.

How to Eco-map?

As 80% of the environmental problems are related to a specific location, eco-mapping the organisation's workshops and offices is very useful to show clearly which environmental nuisance occurs and where.

What do you need as...

  • ... tools: a detailed floor plan or... a A4 squared paper and a photocopy machine!
  • ... time: less than one hour for each ecomap.

When to eco-map?

Preferably after the end of the financial year. But, in any case, when you start implementing your EMS!

How often should they be updated?

The eco-maps should be reviewed once a year or in case of new event (when the organisation renovates the site or when it extends/modifies its acivities). Nevertheless, the timing should be defined according to the organisation's activity nature and natural activity rhythm.

Who is eco-mapping?

The eco-maps are made by the environment representative and the consultant, based on interviews with the staff.

Who is using the eco-maps?

The eco-maps are multi-purpose. They can be used during various EMS implementation phases: while carrying out the initial review, for trainings or audits, or in order to communicate internally or externally.

1. Ask for a site plan or make the organisation draw one

This map should be copied (6 times) and will be the basis for the work to be done. The various inside areas should appear on it.

The Ecomaps must reflect a real situation: they must be clear, recognizable and proportional. They must be dated, identified and referenced.

They must include one or two relevant objects to know quickly where you are on the map (ex: machines, boiler...).

2. Draw several clear symbols

In collaboration with the environmental representative, you will draw your own symboles but use at least the two following one: Symbols

  •   - Hatches: small problem (area to monitor, probleme to study)
  •   - Circle: serious problem (stop, corrective action)

The more serious the problem, the bigger and thicker the circle.

You may also highlight the existing good practices by using various colours.

3. Let's go for Ecomapping!

Chose one Ecomap at a time and go around the organisation's site to question the staff and to record the problems (and good practices) you will notice.

Tip: In order to keep everything in mind, to communicate more effectively on the results later on or to ensure hands-on environemental awareness raising, take pictures !!

Drawing the collected data on the eco-maps

You have now some information on the sources of the organisation's environmental impacts:

  •   - a list of nuisances and problems arising from equipments and practices,
  •   - some information providing an overview of the current situation.

You have collected these information through a training and awareness-raising process leading to the staff commitment and participation.


Example of an Ecomapping exercice in a Surf production site in South Australia


Detailled explanations of Ecomapping step-by-step:

Part I

Part II

To download the ecomapping and/or EMASeasy brochure, please visit www.ecomapping.org or www.emaseasy.eu