The decision to adopt environmental management system (EMS) and to develop effective implementation strategies has engrossed managers at all levels and in all types of organisations in recent years. Some organisations have claimed that environmental issues have been determining their bottom-line and business performance in the market place. This paper is first part in the series focussing on the reasons for EMS implementation and the benefits and impediments associated with the process. Measures commonly practised by organisations to overcome/address the impediments are also presented in this paper. The findings of this paper are based on a questionnaire survey mailed to Australasian organisations on their experiences with ISO 14001 implementation and certification.