What is the difference between QMS & EMS

A QMS (Quality Management System) and EMS (Environmental Management System) are both management systems designed to help organisations achieve their objectives and goals but under different focuses.

As a business owner or manager, you probably want your products and services to be of the highest quality in the market. This could mean implementing an effective and certified QMS. On top of that, you also need a robust, efficient environmental management system to ensure that the production and consumption of your goods do not harm the environment.

Simply put, QMS and EMS are both necessary for organisations looking to improve product quality and customer satisfaction. However, there are differences between these systems of standards.

The Difference Between QMS And EMS

To better understand the difference between these two systems, it is essential to first learn about the two integrated ISO standards: ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. ISO 9001 is the standard for quality management, whereas ISO 14001 is the standard that addresses the environmental aspects of a business.

ISO 9001 2015 QMSISO 14001 2015 EMS
Customer-drivenEnvironmentally driven
More documented proceduresLess documented procedures
Defined standardsNo defined standards
Requires quality manualNo quality manual

Understanding Quality Management System (QMS): ISO 9001

Defined under ISO 9001, the QMS is a system that focuses on the quality assurance of production processes, products, or services of a business. It provides a framework to ensure products or services meet customer expectations and applicable regulations. With an effective QMS, companies can enhance customer satisfaction, reduce waste, and improve internal processes.


Understanding Environmental Management System (EMS): ISO 14001

EMS is defined under ISO 14001 and focuses on managing environmental impacts, such as waste management, water pollution, and hazardous materials. The goal of this system is to help businesses reduce their environmental impact and enhance their environmental performance by implementing an efficient EMS.

It covers procedures and policies to help organisations minimise environmental impact, continually improve environmental performance, and comply with applicable laws and regulations.

ISO 14001 Certification from best practice


The biggest difference between ISO 9001:2015 QMS and ISO 14001: 2015 EMS lies in their approach. A QMS is typically customer-driven. This means the system works to better your procedures to ensure the products or services produced can meet customer requirements.

On the other hand, an EMS is environmentally-driven, which means it works to optimise resources and improve operations to avoid harmful environmental impacts.

Best Practices

There are also notable differences in the systems’ best practices. A QMS promotes the following practices:

  • Customer focus – The system aims at meeting customer needs and exceeding their expectations.
  • Leadership – Engaging an organisation’s top leaders in promoting quality objectives in all departments.
  • Process approach – Deploying the Plan-Do-Check-Act to ensure the QMS is effective.
  • Involvement of people in achieving quality objectives.
  • Evidence based decision making.
  • Continual improvement.
  • Stakeholder relationship management.

An EMS promotes the following best practices:

  • Reduce the environmental footprints of business operations.
  • Promoting sustainability.
  • Operational improvements by adjusting processes to improve efficiency and environmental degradation.
  • Facilitating environmental legal compliance.
  • Reducing the environmental risks.

ISO 9001 & ISO 14001 Certification from Best Practice Biz

ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 can be easily integrated into a single quality management system, often called an Integrated Management System (IMS). This system combines the guidelines of both standards into a single framework, enabling businesses to manage their quality and environmental objectives more efficiently.

If you’re interested in implementing either ISO 9001 or ISO 14001, or both, Best Practice Certification can help. As JAS-ANZ accredited Certification body, we are focused on providing ISO Certification to businesses in Australia.

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