An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a set of processes and practices that enable an organization to reduce its environmental impacts and increase its operating efficiency. It includes the organizational structure, planning and resources for developing, implementing and maintaining policy for environmental protection.
An EMS is really just a formal planning tool to help an organization organize priorities and pursue goals. It focuses mainly on continual improvement of the system . Provides a systematic way of managing an organization’s environmental affairs
• Supports a variety of goals• Ensures the impact “owner” is responsible• Is in harmony with mission• Recognizes continual improvement
An environmental policy defines our organization’s commitment to the environment through continual improvement in environmental performance. A strong, clear environmental policy can serve as a starting point for developing our EMS. The policy should be evaluated regularly and modified to reflect changing environmental priorities.
Inthe planning phase of EMS, we will identify impacts the environment, and determine which of those impacts are significant, set objectives and targets to minimize environmental impacts and improve environmental performance, and establish action plans to meet the objectives and targets. EMS consist of: Environmental Impacts and Aspects Compliance Objectives and Targets
” According to ISO 14001 definitions: An aspect is an element of an organization’s activities, products, or services that can interact with the environment. An impact is any change to the environment…wholly or partially resulting from an organization’s activities, products, or services .
All EMSs must address compliance with applicable environmental regulations. To comply with the laws and regulations we must know what the regulations are and implement procedures and install equipment to comply with those regulations.
An objective is a goal that is consistent with environmental policy, priority environmental aspects and impacts, and applicable environmental regulations. A target is a more detailed performance goal related to and supporting a specific objective. Specific targets must be met to achieve an objective of an EMS. The objectives and targets will drive many other EMS elements, particularly measurement and monitoring activities.
Theimplementation phase of EMS involves systematically executing plans.
Regular reviews are key to continual improvement and to ensuring that EMS will continue to meet needs over time.
An environmental management system takes time and commitment from the entire organisation. Effective running of an EMS will provide ongoing environmental benefits, cost savings and contribute to building an attractive work place culture.