What would I want an Environmental Management System

An introduction to Environmental Management Systems and why implementing an EMS in your company can be good business.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines an environmental management system (EMS) as a “set of processes and practices” to reduce environmental impact and increase operating efficiency. An EMS provides the framework for awareness of environmental impact and regulations, and a starting point for monitoring and measuring environmental objectives. A company’s EMS may be administered by a compliance manager, a facilities manager, or an operations manager. There are many reasons for a company to implement an environmental management system.

The key elements of a solid environmental management system include the following:

• A clear environmental policy that communicates management commitment to compliance and continuous improvement on environmental issues, and providing resources to manage them.
• Specific management accountability and responsibility that includes incentive programs, compliance policies, and clear consequences for noncompliance.
• Clearly defined processes and procedures for meeting environmental management, including assessment, prevention, and control.
• Thorough and documented investigations into environmental incidents and noncompliance, including plans for timely and effective corrective actions and root-cause analysis.
• Documented and qualified training and education, and awareness of environmental policies, procedures, and requirements.
• A pollution prevention program to address waste and emissions through active management of recycling and safe material handling.
• A demonstrated practice of continuous improvement that includes regular audits and employees, vendors, and contractors.

Bottom Line Impact

A company’s EMS saves money by reducing waste, saving energy through the efficient use of utilities such as electricity, water, and gas, preventing and avoiding fines from non-compliance with regulations. It can also reduce insurance premiums with demonstrated risk management. It can also increase sales by attracting larger customers such as government agencies and global corporations.

Reduced Risk

An EMS reduces and eliminates the risks and legal liabilities of poor pollution control, possible environmental contamination, and sloppy or non-existent material handling practices. A closely monitored and documented program to protect and control environmental issues in your company proactively manages the impact and potential impact of your business on the environment. It prepares and protects your employees and protects the communities where you do business.

Improved Business Relationships

When you meet your regulatory compliance responsibilities, it improves your business relationships. Customers will be happy doing business with your company knowing it operates responsibly to protect the environment. Employees will feel more secure working with your company knowing there are monitoring and control practices in place. Regulatory authorities and local communities will have more confidence in your company with good environmental practices in place.

Good Public Relations

An established EMS promotes good public relations, especially if certifications such as ISO are achieved. Your customers, suppliersFind Article, and local communities where you do business are more confident doing business with your company knowing there are good environmental management practices in place to protect the environment and prevent costly and dangerous disasters. An EMS establishes credibility and responsibility in the industries where you do business.