A systematic approach to achieve your environmental and
other organizational goals
Does your organization need an EMS? Well, ask
yourself the following questions:
If you answered YES to one or more of the above questions, an EMS can help your organization – and so will this Guide!
- Is your organization required to comply with environmental laws and regulations?
- Are you looking for ways to improve your environmental performance?
- Is the state of your organization’s environmental affairs a significant liability?
- Does a lack of time or resources prevent your organization from managing its environmental obligations effectively?
- Is the relationship between your organization’s environmental goals and other goals unclear?
As one of your organization’s leaders, you probably know that interest in environmental protection and sustainable development is growing each year. You might hear about these issues from customers, the public or others. Like many, your organization may be increasingly challenged to demonstrate its commitment to the environment. Implementing an EMS can help you meet this challenge in several important ways.
First, an effective EMS makes good sense, whether your organization is in the public or private sector. By helping to identify the causes of environmental problems and then eliminate them, an EMS can help you save money. Think of it this way:
Second, an EMS can be an investment in long term viability of your organization. An EMS can help you to be more effective in achieving environmental goals. And, by helping businesses to keep existing customers and attract new ones, an EMS adds value.
- Is it better to make a product (or provide a service) right the first time or to fix it later?
- Is it cheaper to prevent a spill in the first place or to clean it up afterwards?
- Is it more cost-effective to prevent pollution or to manage it after it has been generated?
Here’s some good news: Much of what you need for an EMS may already be in place! The management system framework described in this Guide includes many elements that are common to managing many organizational processes, such as quality, health & safety, finance, or human resources. As you review this Guide, you will probably find that your organization has many EMS processes in place, even though they may have been designed for other purposes. Integrating environmental management with other key organizational processes can improve financial, quality and environmental performance.
The key to effective environmental management is the use of a systematic approach to planning, controlling, measuring and improving an organization’s environmental performance. Potentially significant environmental improvements (and cost savings) can be achieved by assessing and improving your organization’s management processes. Many environmental “problems” can be solved without installing expensive pollution control equipment.
Of course, there is some work involved in planning,
implementing and maintaining an EMS. But many organizations have found that the development of an EMS can be a vehicle for positive change. Many organizations have seen that the benefits of an EMS far outweigh the potential costs. And while these EMS concepts certainly apply to the private sector, a number of public sector organizations (including municipalities) have found that they can benefit from an EMS.
In the Total Quality Management (TQM) world, they say that “quality is free” — as long as you are willing to make the investments that will let you reap the rewards. The same holds true for environmental management.
Want to know more about EMS costs and benefits? Then read on...
Key EMS Benefits
“We view the establishment of an EMS as a process that forces us to better organize our priorities and projects and to identify problems and exposures before they occur.”
- improved environmental performance
- reduced liability
- competitive advantage
- improved compliance
- reduced costs
- fewer accidents
- employee involvement
- improved public image
- enhanced customer trust
- more favorable credit terms
- meet customer requirements
-- K.J. Quinn & Co., a small specialty chemical company
“We found that an EMS could improve employee retention, new hire selection, working conditions, and the perceptions of our customers, suppliers, lenders, neighbors, and regulators.”
-- Milan Screw Products, a 32-person manufacturer of precision fittings
Some reasons that municipalities have implemented an EMS:
- Improved compliance performance
- Enhanced management confidence
- Increased efficiency
- Public image concerns
- Growth management
- Desire to be seen as leaders and innovators