Environmental management system (EMS) refers to the management of an organization’s environmental programs in a comprehensive, systematic, planned and documented manner.
This system includes the organizational structure, planning and resources for developing, implementing and maintaining policy for environmental protection.
An Environmental Management System (EMS) provides:
Serves as a tool to improve environmental performance.
Provides a systematic way of managing an organization’s environmental affairs.
Assist in the structural aspects of organizational management helping to address immediate and long-term aspects of its products, services and processes on the environment.
Give structure to an organization and provides consistency to an organization to solve problems through the provision of resources, assignment of responsibilities and ongoing evaluation, procedures and processes.
Focuses on continual improvement of the system
EMS is used a Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle or PDCA. The process of first developing an environmental policy, plan the EMS and implementing it. The probe also includes checking the system and acting on it. The model is continuous because EMS is a process to improvement which is organization is constantly reviewed and revises the system.
This model can be used by wide range an organization which is from manufacturing facilities to service industries also government agencies.
KEY ELEMENTS OF EMS:
There are some key elements of an Environmental Management System (EMS)
Policy Statement which is a statement of the organization’s commitment to the environment
Identification of Significant Environmental Impacts where the environmental attributes of products, activities and services and their effects on the environment
Development of Objectives and Targets - environmental goals for the organization
Implementation - plans to meet objectives and targets
Training - instruction to ensure employees are aware and capable of fulfilling their environmental responsibilities
ISO, ISO 14000 and ISO 14001:
ISO (International Organization for Standardization which is located in Geneva, Switzerland. ISO was establishing on1947 as a non-governmental organization. The main function is to develop voluntary technical standards that aim at making the development, manufacture and supply of goods and services more efficient, safe and clean.
ISO 14000 refers to a family of voluntary standards and guidance documents to help organizations address environmental issues. Included in the family are standards for Environmental Management Systems, environmental and EMS auditing, environmental labeling, performance evaluation and life-cycle assessment.
ISO 14001 was establishing on September 1996. The International Organization for Standardization was published the first edition of this ISO 14001 that is the Environmental Management Systems standard. This is an international voluntary standard describing specific requirements for an EMS. ISO 14001 is a specification standard to which an organization may receive certification or registration. ISO 14001 is considered the foundation document of the entire series. A second edition of ISO 14001 was published in 2004, updating the standard.
The 17 requirements of the ISO 14001:2004 standard:
Environmental Policy - develop a statement of the organization’s commitment to the environment
Environmental Aspects and Impacts - identify environmental attributes of products, activities and services and their effects on the environment
Legal and Other Requirements - identify and ensure access to relevant laws and regulations
Objectives and Targets and Environmental Management Program - set environmental goals for the organization and plan actions to achieve objectives and targets
Structure and Responsibility - establish roles and responsibilities within the organization
Training, Awareness and Competence - ensure that employees are aware and capable of their environmental responsibilities
Communication - develop processes for internal and external communication on environmental management issues
EMS Documentation - maintain information about the EMS and related documents
Document Control - ensure effective management of procedures and other documents
Operational Control - identify, plan and manage the organization’s operations and activities in line with the policy, objectives and targets, and significant aspects
Emergency Preparedness and Response - develop procedures for preventing and responding to potential emergencies
Monitoring and Measuring - monitor key activities and track performance including periodic compliance evaluation
Evaluation of Compliance - develop procedure to periodically evaluate compliance with legal and other requirements
Non-conformance and Corrective and Preventive Action - identify and correct problems and prevent recurrences
Records - keep adequate records of EMS performance
EMS Audit - periodically verify that the EMS is effective and achieving objectives and targets
Management Review - review the EMS
There some benefits when EMS is operating:
Cost savings through the reduction of waste and more efficient use of natural resources (electricity, water, gas and fuels.)
Avoiding fines and penalties from not meeting environmental legislation by identifying environmental risks and addressing weaknesses.
Reduction in insurance costs by demonstrating better risk management
OPERATIONAL AND INTERNAL
Improved overall performance and efficiency.
Able to monitor and reflect (audit) your business and see which areas need intervention
- Better public perception of the organization, leading to improved sales
- Reduction of the impact (e.g. noises, smells, dust) of your activities on the local
residents, leading to more community support