Effective Environmental Management: Principles and Case Studies

Effective Environmental Management: Principles and Case Studies

Effective Environmental Management: Principles and Case Studies

Effective Environmental Management: Principles and Case Studies

Excerpt

In the last two or three years there have been a number of books published that address environmental management systems (EMSs) and the International Standard for Environmental Management Systems ISO14001:1996. However, it seemed that these books, despite being promoted as ‘how to’ guides to environmental management, were actually little more than theoretical descriptions of the Standard. They focused more on interpreting the requirements of the Standard rather than on the needs of the organisations implementing systems of environmental management. There seemed to be a significant gap between theory and practice, with limited experience of the practical realities of developing and implementing such management systems. This book goes some way toward plugging that gap by providing a practitioner's perspective on environmental management. The aim is to link theory with experience and to communicate some of the core lessons we have learned from assisting organisations to manage their environmental impacts.

We also felt, based on some experiences we have had, that the management system certification process is not providing real benefit to many organisations. The exact reasons are unclear; however, one of the major limitations of the certification process as we see it is that very rigid interpretations of the ISO14001 standard are being applied. While there are many benefits to having an established approach, the most important thing is to have a system in place that works and which provides the outcomes the organisation desires. Meeting the intent of the Standard should be a secondary issue. In practice, it has been our experience that the order has been reversed in many cases. Organisations were expected to ‘meet the Standard’ and then hope that the management system that was developed also provided some real benefits, such as improved quality of products and services. Sometimes it seems that people spend so much time worrying about the process of quality . . .

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