Environmental Management Systems


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An introduction to the terminology used in VCE Environmental Science Unit 4 (Area of Study 2) - Environmental Management Systems, Environmental Risk Assesssment, EES, EIS, Life Cycle Analysis and Precautionary Principle.

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Environmental Management Systems

  1. 1. Unit 4: Area of Study 2: Environmental Management Systems<br />Terms and Definitions<br />
  2. 2. Environmental Management Systems<br />An Environmental Management System (EMS):<br />Serves as a tool to improve environmental performance<br />Provides a systematic way of managing an organization’s environmental affairs<br />Is the aspect of the organization’s overall management structure that addresses immediate and long-term impacts of its products, services and processes on the environment<br />Gives order and consistency for organizations to address environmental concerns through the allocation of resources, assignment of responsibility and ongoing evaluation of practices, procedures and processes<br />Focuses on continual improvement of the system<br />
  3. 3. Environmental Management System<br />
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  5. 5. Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD)<br />The aim of EMS is to increase the sustainability of projects and developments and move towards ecologically sustainable societies.<br />In December 2002, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the years from 2005 to 2014 the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). Governments from around the world have been invited to strengthen their contribution to sustainability through a focus on education.<br />
  6. 6. ISO 14000 and 14001<br />ISO stands for the International Organisations for Standardization, located in Geneva, Switzerland.<br />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 EMS, environmental and EMS auditing, environmental labelling, performance evaluation and life-cycle assessment.<br />In September 1996, the International Organization for Standardization published the first edition of ISO 14001, the EMS 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.<br />ISO14001 is the dominant environmental management system in the world.<br />
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  9. 9. Some tools for Environmental Management - EIA<br />Environmental Impact Assessment: A process whereby the impact on the environment of a project or development is assessed in terms of biodiversity, geology, water, energy, waste, historical and indigenous significance (if relevant) and social and economic changes.<br />
  10. 10. Some tools for Environmental Management – EES or EIS<br />Environmental Effects Statement (EES) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS):<br />The report produced as a result of an environmental impact statement that describes the effects/impacts of the project/development. This is mandated by planning regulators and available to stakeholders for consultation. <br />
  11. 11. Some tools for Environmental Management<br />Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) : Also called “cradle to grave analysis”, it is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life from-cradle-to-grave (i.e., from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling).<br /> LCA’s can help avoid a narrow outlook on environmental concerns by:<br />Compiling an inventory of relevant energy and material inputs and environmental releases;<br />Evaluating the potential impacts associated with identified inputs and releases;<br />Interpreting the results to help you make a more informed decision.<br />
  12. 12. Some tools for Environmental Management - ERA <br />Environmental (or Ecological) Risk Assessment is the process of estimating the effects of human actions on a natural resource. It is comprised of the following steps:<br />Planning the assessment by setting the management goals, objectives and resources available.<br />Formulating the problem to determine the scope of the assessment.<br />Identifying the ecological values and the likely hazards to these values.<br />Analysing the risks to ecological values using qualitative, semi-qualitative or quantitative risk assessment methods.<br />Characterising and ranking the risks, including uncertainties and assumptions, to make them accessible to decision makers and stakeholders. <br />Developing a risk management plan to minimise the risks.<br />Implementing the risk management plan.<br />Monitoring the system to provide information on the effectiveness of the plan.<br />
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  14. 14. Precautionary Principle<br />The precautionary principlestates that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus, that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action. <br />
  15. 15. Some examples of EMS:<br />
  16. 16. Some Examples of EMS:<br /> Kimberly-Clark Australia was one of the first Australian companies to adopt a corporate environmental policy and develop its Environmental Management System (EMS) using ISO 14001. The company aims to:<br />continually improve its environmental performance, prevent pollution and responsibly minimise and control its wastes<br />plan, construct and operate all operating locations to comply with applicable regulations, to meet ISO 14001 or its equivalent and to act with due diligence for environmental protection and improvement<br />source its paper-products fibre from either:<br />recycled fibre recovered from waste paper or<br />virgin fibre which is made from wood out of forests which have had their operations and management certified to one of the listed forest management systems1. We shall strive for 100% compliance while accepting 70% as a minimum<br />help conserve resources by the design and production of products to reduce the use of raw materials, packaging and energy in manufacture, and by recycling production wastes.<br />
  17. 17. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA.<br />
  18. 18. REFERENCES:<br />http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_management_system<br />http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_cycle_assessment<br />http://www.environment.gov.au/sustainability/government/ems/index.html<br />http://www.environment.gov.au/ssd/research/ecol-risk.html<br />“Environmental Risk Assessment – An Australian Perspective” http://www.environment.gov.au/ssd/publications/ssr/102.html<br />