An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a continual cycle of planning, implementing, reviewing and improving the processes and actions that an organization undertakes to meet its business and environmental goals. An effective EMS is built on Total Quality Management (TQM) concepts. To improve environmental management, an organization needs to focus not only on what things happen but also on why they happen. Over time, the systematic identification and correction of system deficiencies leads to better environmental (and overall organisational) performance.
An EMS allows an organisation to systematically manage its environmental and health and safety matters. An EMS can result in both business and environmental benefits.
Key EMS Elements.
For effective implementation of an EMS, the following are critical:
- Active commitment from senior management
- A clearly defined and understood environmental policy
- A clearly defined environmental management structure
- Established systems of documentation recording and reporting
- Documentated and measureable envioronmental objectives and targets
- Systematic identification of environmental aspects and impacts and regulatory requirements
- Properly established and periodically reviewed operating procedures
Implementing an EMS.
There are recognised national and international standards that provide accreditation and external recognition of the standards achieved. The purpose of these standards is to provide industry with a model framework for the implementation of an effective system for the management of health, safety and environmental issues. The choice of EMS standard depends on what is right for your company. In New Zealand there are two main choices. The most commonly referenced EMS Standard is the international “ISO 14001” and the other option is the Enviro-Mark system.
Aotea Plastics has developed it's EMS in partnership with Enviro-Mark.
Certification to Bronze standard was achieved in April 2005, and Silver was achieved in December 2005. Gold standard is expected to be achieved by June 2006.
For more detail see Enviro-Mark.