GIIRS Emerging Market

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GIIRS Emerging Market

Assessment Resource Guide:
Implementing an Environmental Management System


Page 1 of 6

What’s in this Guide?

I. Definition: What is an Environmental Management System (EMS)?
II. Why Implement an EMS?
III. Launching an EMS
IV. ISO 14000
V. Case Studies
VI. Additional Resources



I. Definition: What is an Environmental Management System (EMS)?

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.
1
The EMS
provides a framework that helps a company achieve its environmental goals through consistent
control of its operations. The EMS itself does not dictate a level of environmental performance that
must be achieved; each company’s EMS is tailored to the company’s business and goals.

An EMS is a continuous improvement process with the following basic elements:

 Reviewing the company’s environmental goals
 Analyzing its environmental impacts and legal requirements
 Setting environmental objectives and targets to reduce legal requirements
 Establishing programs to meet these objectives and targets
 Monitoring and measuring progress in achieving the objectives
 Ensuring employees’ environmental awareness and competence
 Reviewing the progress of the EMS and making improvements

For further details on typical areas of analysis in an EMS, please refer to “GIIRS EM Resource Guide:
Environmental Audit”, “GIIRS EM Resource Guide: Calculating Greenhouse Gas Emissions”, “GIIRS
EM Resource Guide: Workplace Recycling Guide”, “GIIRS EM Resource Guide: Monitoring &
Recording Hazardous & Non-Hazardous Waste”, “GIIRS EM Resource Guide: Monitoring Water Use”,
“GIIRS EM Resource Guide: Monitoring Energy Use”, and “GIIRS EM Resource Guide: Evaluating
Suppliers / Distributors’ Social & Environmental Practices”.





1
http://www.epa.gov/ems/

GIIRS EM Resource Guide:


Implementing an Environmental Management System

Page 2 of 6


For
Small Business Owner
s


 Writing and implementing an EMS does not
necessarily need to be a long, elaborate process.
Many small businesses can make do with
something simpler – even a one- or two-page fact
sheet produced internally.
 While keeping it simple, ensure the following:
 Ensure senior management is involved and
consults employees
 Informal communication is cheaper, and often
times more efficient in a small organization
 Once formulated, display it somewhere all
employees have access to
 Employee buy-in can be used to ensure
monitoring and effective implementation
 The list below provides simple and practical tips to
make any business more environmentally
responsible:
http://www.sustainabilityadvantage.com/docume
nts/64Initiatives.pdf


II. Why Implement an EMS?

An EMS can provide many benefits from
both an environmental and a business
standpoint. Because the EMS is tailored
to each company’s specific goals and
processes, it provides a structure for
optimizing company performance
across multiple dimensions.

Specifically, an EMS can help achieve the
following:
 Cost savings through reduced
resource consumption
 Increased operational efficiency
 Improved environmental
performance
 Compliance with legal and
regulatory requirements
 Deeper customer trust
 Enhanced employee skills and
satisfaction
 Positive community and public
relations


III. Launching an EMS

Much of what a company needs for an EMS may already be in place. The EMS framework includes
many elements that are common to managing many organizational processes, such as quality,
health and safety, finance or human resources. Many organizations have some EMS processes in
place already, though they may have been designed for other purposes. Integrating environmental
management with other key processes can improve performance across multiple functional areas.

Environmental Policy – Before beginning to build an EMS, a company should make sure to define
its environmental policy and goals, and communicate these with the entire organization. Launching
an EMS requires commitment from both senior managers and employees at all levels. It is
important that everyone understands why the organization needs an effective EMS, what their role
is and how an EMS will help control environmental impacts in a cost-effective manner. Solidifying
these objectives into a policy document gives companies a framework for measuring progress and
signals a clear commitment to environmental management.

GIIRS EM Resource Guide:


Environmental Management System

Page 3 of 6


Environmental management systems follow a systematic approach of planning, implementing,
evaluating and improving. The following diagram
2
outlines the basis steps of the process.





Audit and Assessment – Audits can be used both to measure baseline environmental processes in
order to shape targets and as a way of regularly reviewing progress toward those goals. External
audits provide a rigorous evaluation of a company’s environmental practices and are typically
conducted annually or every 18 months. Internal reviews between audits help ensure that a
company meets its stated environmental performance goals and gives the opportunity to make
adjustments to practices as appropriate.

Setting Targets – A fundamental component of an EMS is a set of precise objectives and targets
that the company will seek to meet through the EMS. These targets should be driven by the
company’s overall environmental goals. The objectives and targets will be the drivers of the EMS
and will be constantly refined through the continual improvement process. Setting targets will
allow the company to properly allocate resources in order to meet its objectives, which should be
periodically assessed as part of its EMS policy.


2
http://www.ifc.org/ifcext/enviro.nsf/AttachmentsByTitle/pro_EMS/$FILE/EMS.pdf

GIIRS EM Resource Guide:


Environmental Management System

Page 4 of 6



The chart below
3
lists a sample set of objectives and related quantifiable targets. Once these have
been established, the organization is ready to begin allocating resources, training employees and
implementing the system.


Objective
Target
Reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds

Reduce emissions by 10 percent in 2000

Reduce energy use

Reduce electricity use by 15 percent in 2000
Reduce natural gas use by 20 percent in 2000

Recycle cardboard waste

Recycle 50 percent of cardboard waste in 2001

Improve compliance with wastewater discharge
permit limits

Zero permit limit violations by the end of 2001

Promote environmental activities

Promote environmental activities through letters
attached to payment slips

Reduce energy used in manufacturing
operations

Achieve 10 percent reduction of energy
consumption from to the previous year

Recycle plastic bottles

Recycle plastic, 50 percent of bottles in 2012 and
100 percent of bottles in 2013


IV. ISO 14000

The International Organization for Standards provides the ISO 14000 environmental management
standards to assist organizations with the development of environmental management systems.
The ISO standards are voluntary for companies seeking to implement an EMS.

The following two ISO standards provide requirements and guidelines, respectively, for companies
developing an EMS. For further information on the standards, please refer to:
http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_14000_essentials
.

1) ISO 14001 gives the generic requirements for an environmental management system. This
has the effect of establishing a common reference for communicating about environmental
management between organizations and their customers, regulators, the public and other
stakeholders. The standard can be implemented by a wide variety of organizations,
whatever their current level of environmental maturity.
4


2) ISO 14004 provides guidelines on the elements of an environmental management system
and its implementation, and discusses principal issues involved.



3
http://www.ifc.org/ifcext/enviro.nsf/AttachmentsByTitle/pro_EMS/$FILE/EMS.pdf

4
http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_14000_essentials

GIIRS EM Resource Guide:


Environmental Management System

Page 5 of 6


Case Study: Stay Safe Soluti
ons

Stay Safe Solutions, a provider of safety and
security equipment for military and first
responders, successfully implemented an EMS
focusing on the following environmental
aspects:
 Reducing energy usage
 Increasing use of renewable materials
 Recycling
 Disposing of non-recyclable waste
 Updating technology to more efficient
equipment

Read the full policy here
.
Companies can choose to receive certification for their accordance with ISO 14001 requirements.
Such companies must also demonstrate a commitment to compliance with applicable
environmental legislation, along with a commitment to continual improvement.

Should a company wish to pursue ISO certification, the following report provides a guide to
implementation and recommendations on whether to enlist the support of a specialized consultant
to help navigate the process: http://www.iso.org/iso/ims0405-implementing.pdf
.

V. Case Studies

Below is a small snapshot of results
5
that
companies around the world have realized
through the process of implementing an EMS:

 During the process of ISO certification,
Formosa Plastics took stock of and
streamlined company procedures, leading
to a 25% reduction in manuals by
discarding obsolete and incorrect
documentation. One of the company’s
Brazilian sites also discovered previously
unknown and unmonitored uses of
mercury and CFC’s that needed to be
addressed.

 One European electronics company found
that ISO 14000 helped the firm move towards “crisis prevention” and away from “crisis
management”. Meanwhile, a competitor noted that ISO 14000 allowed the division to collect
valuable operating data about environmental management that would inform future resource
allocation decisions.


VI. Additional Resources

For more information on designing and conducting an environmental audit, please refer to “GIIRS
EM Resource Guide: What is an Environmental Audit”.

NSF International’s Implementation Guide for Small to Medium Businesses:


5
http://www.personal.anderson.ucla.edu/charles.corbett/papers/99-017.pdf


GIIRS EM Resource Guide:


Environmental Management System

Page 6 of 6


http://www.epa.gov/owm/iso14001/ems2001final.pdf


IFC’s Manual for Implementing EMS in SME:
http://www.ifc.org/ifcext/enviro.nsf/AttachmentsByTitle/pro_EMS/$FILE/EMS.pdf


Report – “ISO 14000: An Agnostic’s Report from the Front Line”:
http://www.personal.anderson.ucla.edu/charles.corbett/papers/99-017.pdf


Report - “The Implementation Process of ISO 14000 in Brazilian Enterprises”:
http://www.caseplace.org/d.asp?d=2037