About This Standard
An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a framework that helps organisations minimise their environmental impact through continuous review, evaluation, and improvement of their environmental performance. The EMS does not determine the level of environmental performance that each organisation should achieve. This is what each organisation should define according to its specific objectives and targets.
Assisting an organisation in addressing its legislative compliance requirements in a cost-effective and systematic manner is the core purpose of an EMS. In addition to reducing the risk of non-compliance, this proactive approach to environment can benefit the public and employees alike. The implementation of an EMS in an organisation can address issues, like energy conservation, that are not regulated. It can also help strengthen operational control and employee involvement. EMS consists of the following basic elements:
· Reviewing the environmental objectives of the organisation
· Analysing the organisation’s existing impacts
· Defining real-world environmental objectives for the organisation
· Developing a detailed plan to meet the newly-defined objectives
· Constant monitoring and evaluation of the program
· Confirming the employees’ environmental awareness, and
· Reviewing the progress of the EMS and seeking improvements
For sure, implementing an EMS has some costs for the company. To find out how much it costs you, it is mandatory to run an internal inspection of the current environmental impact of the organisation and then estimate the costs with respect to its objectives. With respect to the benefits of implementing an EMS, the following benefits are among the most obvious ones:
· Enhanced environmental performance
· Improved compliance
· Preserving resources
· Long-term cost efficiency
· Pollution prevention
· Enhanced employee awareness
· Enhanced employee morale
· Enhanced public prestige
The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has developed the most commonly used framework for an EMS, which is known as ISO 14001. Based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology, this framework has been the official international standard for EMS since 1996. Implementing EMS includes five stages that are described below.
The first phase of implementing EMS is establishing the organisation’s environmental policy, which requires the commitment of top management. It might sound trivial, but as long as the management is not truly committed, no promises can be made regarding the organisation’s environmental policy.
In the planning stage, the organisation’s environmental aspects are identified and examined. Whatever pollutes the environment in any way is considered an environmental aspect. Then all such aspects are classified according to their significance. Then, objectives and targets must be set to deal with those threatening aspects in the proper manner. Finally, a detailed action plan should be designed according to those objectives and targets, outlining all the steps and assigning responsibilities to each member of the team so that everyone knows what they should do. This stage is of great importance as the outcome of the work is heavily dependent on it. At IntegPro, our experts will provide you with the most practical plan according to your objectives and potential.
In the implementation phase, the designed action plan is carried out using the organisation’s resources and facilities. Training the employees and raising their awareness of the environmental aspects are among the main components of the implementation phase. Other components include documentation and establishing communication lines (both external and internal).
Every operational project requires constant environmental evaluation and assessment. To find out if everything has gone according to the plan and, more importantly, if the plan has been effective, periodical evaluations are unavoidable. Here, the organisation monitors the operations to find out whether they are moving toward the defined objectives and targets.
In the end, the management should review the results to find out if the implementation process is consistent with the organisation’s original environmental policy. Sometimes, minor revisions might be needed so that the system works out. At other times, it proves to be effective, and the only thing to do is continue the same way.
How can we help?
As a professional ISO consulting company in Australia, IntegPro can provide you with the best solutions for implementing an environmental management system in your organisation. Our experts will help you through the whole process and make sure everything goes according to the plan.