Posted by Jason Warnock on March 25 at 2:00 PM
How good is the Environmental Management System at your company, do you even have one? A great industry has sprung up dedicated to developing standards and methods of environmental management which are practical, and most importantly cost-effective. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14000 series of environmental standards, which include ISO 14001 and ISO 14004 are often the framework for describing the essential elements of an EMS in large or government organizations. But how do small business owners implement their own systems and why even bother?
There are many different systems for various sectors and a range of types and sizes of organizations. In general, an effective environmental management system for any organization is one that is capable of (a) defining the environmental and economic goals, policies and strategies of the organization, and (b) implementing them. Any good EMS is basically a framework developed by an organization to help improve its environmental performance by taking environmental considerations into account when making decisions and managing risks. The development and implementation of an EMS also helps to ensure departments and agencies meet legislation and policy objectives, and demonstrate due diligence.
So why bother?
The EPA sets out what it calls “business and environmental benefits” of an EMS which include; improved environmental performance, enhanced compliance, prevention of pollution, conservation of resources, and enhanced image with public, regulators, lenders, investors. Expanding on that slightlty a good EMS should provide a frame work for:
• Increased environmental efficiency
• Mitigating environmental risks
• Compliance with applicable legislation and regulations
• Reduction of costs
• Achieve/improve employee and public awareness of environmental issues and responsibilities
Unfortunately usually the least attention is paid to the last point of creating employee and public awareness. Employee and management awareness is vital to any environmental management system and complete buy in, top to bottom, is essential for effective implementation.
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