Environmental Management Systems: An Essential Ingredient for Modern Business; Professor David Brooksbank Director of Enterprise, Cardiff School of Management, UWIC

Article excerpt

ENVIRONMENTAL impact is an important issue across the globe, with pressure to minimise that impact coming from many sources, including governments, trade associations, supply chains and other social and financial stakeholders.

An environmental management system (EMS) provides you with a framework for managing environmental responsibilities efficiently in a way that is integrated into your overall operations. Such a system can assist an organisation to meet the increasingly heavy burden of responsibility and in many cases the introduction of an EMS can also lead to cost savings and a reduction in environmental liability.

An EMS is similar to other management systems, such as those that manage quality or safety. It assesses your strengths and weaknesses, helps you identify and manage significant impacts, can secure cost savings and internal efficiencies, provides benchmarks for improvements and intended benefits and helps you keep track of your progress.

The idea is that it can be easily and practically integrated with other day-to-day processes such as health and safety management and quality assurance.

However, there are specific benefits to an EMS, including better resource management, improved credibility and reliability of environmental information and reduction of any environmental and legal risks.

You can also prove to customers that you are committed to meeting your environmental responsibilities by getting your EMS certified, such as through ISO 14001, BS 8555, Green Dragon or the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).

Waste of resources and creation of pollution are normally indications of areas for significant improvement.

All of the EMS standards stress the need for continuous, never ending, improvement in striving to protect the environment, not only for ourselves but for future generations to come.

There are a variety of approaches you can use to plan and set up your EMS. …