The EMS and ISO 14001 includes issues more than what we normally include as 'environment'. A good EMS is as much about communications, awareness, decision-making, governance, subsidiarity, monitoring/evaluation etc. as it is about environmental issues! It is very easy for us to forget this ...
An EMS is more than a tool for 'saving the environment - embedded within an EMS are elements related to, yes - the environment - but also management and systems issues.
For example, decision-making, capacity building, governance, subsidiarity, leadership, review etc. are some of the management issues; communication, awareness-raising, the PDCA cycle, monitoring and evaluation etc.. are some of the systems issues; all of which go with nature, ecology, natural materials flow, pollution etc. that are some of the environmental issues.
It is this combination of issues related to the environment, management and systems components that really make an EMS a flexible, scalable and holistic tool that can be applied to a wide range of problems. It can be applied to a household of 5 people, or a city of 5 million people!