ESMS Implementation Handbook - Food and Beverage

Environmental and social responsibility is becoming more and more important in today’s global economy. There are thousands of environmental and social codes and standards in the world today. The codes and standards define the rules and the objectives. But the challenge is in the implementation. An environmental and social management system (ESMS) helps companies to integrate the rules and objectives into core business operations, through a set of clearly defined, repeatable processes. This Handbook is intended to be a practical guide to help companies in the food and beverage industry to develop and implement an environmental and social management system, which should help to improve overall operations.

To download the complete version of ESMS Implementation Handbook in pdf format click here

This Handbook and its companion publications, Toolkit and Case Studies and Self-Assessment and Improvement Guide, are intended to balance system development and system implementation in each of the ESMS elements. For quick reference on how to use the Handbook, Toolkit and Case Studies and Self-Assessment and Improvement Guide click here

In the current economic climate, companies are under pressure to perform or even just survive. New initiatives are often met with resistance as people struggle to keep up with their day-to-day responsibilities. Some people think that an environmental and social management system must be big and complicated and expensive. But that is not really true. To be effective, a management system needs to be scaled to the nature and size of the company. If a company has existing management systems for quality or health and safety, this Handbook will help to expand them to include environmental and social performance. Our hope is that this Handbook will accelerate a company’s journey of continual improvement, for its own benefit and that of its employees and stakeholders.


When you find a toolkit icon, it means there is a tool in the companion publication Toolkit and Case Studies to make it easier to get started.


Table of Contents

Section I: Benefits of an Environmental and Social Management System in the Food & Beverage Industry

Section II: Understanding an Environmental and Social Management System


Elements of an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS)

System Development and System Implementation

Section III: Practical Guidelines for Developing and Implementing Your Environmental and Social Management System

Chapter 1. Policy

  • Purpose of an Effective Policy
  • Modifying Your Existing Policy Statement or Creating a New One
  • Gaining Senior Management and Company Commitment

Chapter 2. Identification of Risks and Impacts

  • Key Risks in the Food and Beverage Industry

Chapter 3. Management Programs

  • Identifying Preventive and Corrective Actions
  • Writing an Effective Action Plan
  • Writing an Effective Procedure

Chapter 4. Case Studies

  • India - Beverage Company. Risk: Excessive, inefficient water use
  • Brazil - Dairy Company. Risk: Discharge of untreated or ineffectively treated wastewater 
  • Thailand - Meat Processing Company Risk: Emissions of foul odors and dangerous vapors
  • India - Beverage Company. Risk: Disposal of hazardous solid waste
  • Brazil - Meat-processing plant. Risk: Worker exposure to chemicals and vapors due to lack of adequate ventilation
  • United States - Ready-made salads processing plant. Risk: Use of third party migrant workers
  • China - Bakery and confectionery. Risk: Excessive overtime hours and hour averaging 
  • South Africa - Fruit processing factory Risk: Supply chain
  • Vietnam - Fish processing plant. Risk: Discharge of organic solid waste into surface waters
  • Canada - Meat processing plant. Risk: Poor infrastructure, process and equipment design

Chapter 5. Organizational Capacity and Competency

  • Roles, Responsibilities and Authorities to Implement the ESMS
  • Communication and Training

Chapter 6. Emergency Preparedness and Response

  • Common Hazards and Emergency Situations in the Food and Beverage Industry

Chapter 7. Stakeholder Engagement

  • Mapping Your Stakeholders
  • Developing a Stakeholder Engagement Plan

Chapter 8. External Communication and Grievance Mechanism

  • External Communication
  • Grievance Mechanism

Chapter 9. Ongoing Reporting to Affected Communities

Chapter 10. Monitoring and Review

  • Indicators
  • Measuring and Improving Your ESMS
  • Linking Your Action Plan and ESMS Improvement Plan
  • Conducting an Effective Management Review