Environmental Management Systems - An easy guide to saving money
These are the notes from a lecture given at Interplas - National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England - 04 October 2002.
Environmental Management Systems (EMS) are becoming a management issue and companies who have implemented an EMS have often achieved substantial cost savings as well as improved their environmental performance. An EMS with a strong emphasis on improving resource efficiency and continual improvement will definitely reduce costs. It is possible to both save money and to save the save the environment.
Research shows that having an EMS saves a company money by focusing attention on waste and the work necessary to minimise the waste.
- Save money by encouraging improved resource efficiency (by not buying and producing waste in the first place).
- Save money by reducing the cost of compliance.
- Reduce the risk of accidents, outages, and prosecutions.
- Increase the focus on design issues for increased profits.
An EMS allows a company to work towards these benefits in a structured and efficient way. An EMS is a practical management tool to:
- Reduce waste and operating costs.
- Gain a competitive advantage.
- Establish and show a system for continual environmental and cost improvement.
- Identify, assess and manage the environmental consequences of operations.
- Demonstrate compliance with legal obligations.
- Improve the public image.
An EMS is easy to implement and for any company with an existing quality management system the job is straightforward. There are very few difficulties and the rewards are great. An EMS will save money during implementation and will provide a tool for saving money into the future.
· You will save money just by being attending an event and reading the publications.
Concern for the environment is NOT going away. You have to do something or you will not be in the game. The pressures are increasing daily: This is not urgent but it is important. When it gets urgent then it is too late!
Many companies are under customer pressure to develop an Environmental Management System (EMS). Other companies recognise the environmental impacts of their business and want to minimise these. Listen to the customer
Legislation and taxes
New legislation and taxes are increasing the cost of poor resource efficiency and waste. The amount of regulation is increasing. The amount of taxation on poor resource efficiency is increasing.
Competitors are setting up EMS and gaining the benefits. The quality analogy: Leader to Common to Laggard or Advantage to Common to Requirement
- Do nothing - the Great British response to a challenge until it is too late to do anything.
- Start to implement an EMS and achieve financial and marketing advantages whilst being good to the environment.
- If you have ISO 9000 accreditation then setting up an EMS to ISO 14001 is easy.
- Many procedures and systems will be common between the QMS and the EMS.
- There are free resources available from Envirowise to help.
The EMS implementation cycle shows the method for implementing an effective EMS:
The EMS implementation cycle
Effective implementation needs:
Senior management commitment
- Strong senior management commitment is essential for successful implementation and operation.
- Clear understanding of the benefits and aims before starting implementation.
- Appoint an empowered and credible 'Project Champion'.
- Produce a project plan. Note: Implementing an EMS takes around 12 - 18 months but there is no correct or standard timescale and other business pressures may take precedence. If customers are demanding an EMS, they will often accept a reasonable timescale accompanied by a good implementation plan.
- Produce a detailed estimate of the potential costs and savings.
Building on existing systems
- EMS links into existing quality management, health and safety management and other management systems.
- Reinforce the links, do not re-invent the wheel.
- It is environmentally good to re-use so do it with management procedures as well.
- Document control processes used in other systems may be suitable for use in the EMS.
- Change control processes.
- Training processes.
The Initial Review
- Assess how the operations affect the environment.
- Provide benchmark data for continual improvement.
- Give strategic overview of waste and environmental issues.
- Start data gathering and analysis process.
- Defines the Environmental Policy.
- Identifies the environmental aspects of activities and their impacts.
- Assesses relevant legislation.
- Identifies opportunities to improve performance.
- Starts to set objectives and targets for improvement.
- An assessment of the environmental aspects and impacts of the company's activities, products, processes and services.
- An 'Environmental Policy'.
- An environmental improvement programme with objectives and targets.
- Identified roles and responsibilities for all employees.
- A training and awareness programme.
- Written procedures to control activities with a significant environmental impact.
- A controlled system of records.
- A programme of regular auditing.
- A formal review process.
- Obtain commitment from senior management.
- Review ISO 14001 to understand the requirements.
- Appoint a Project Champion.
- Prepare a project plan.
- Carry out an 'Initial Review'.
- Develop an 'Environmental Policy'.
- Identify the 'Environmental Aspects'.
- Evaluate the significance of the 'Environmental Aspects' and draw up an 'Aspects Register'.
- Identify legislative requirements and draw up a 'Register of Legislation'.
- Set objectives and targets.
- Assign responsibility.
- Develop employee awareness and conduct training.
- Prepare procedures to deliver operational and document control.
- Implement a monitoring and measurement programme for significant aspects, e.g. waste, water use and energy use.
- Develop an internal audit process.
- Review progress.
Contact the Environment and Energy Helpline (0800 585 794) and get the following FREE publications or download them from the links below:
- Environmental Management Systems for the plastics industry (GG251).
- Waste Minimisation Pays: Five business reasons for reducing waste (GG125).
- Finding and reducing waste in plastics processing (GG277).
Last edited: 11/03/10
© Tangram Technology Ltd. 2002
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