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Environmental Studies Essays – Environmental Management Systems

Will Environmental Management Systems and associates Environmental Reporting enterprises aid the construct ofSustainable Development in application?

The International Organization forStandardization ( ISO ) is a federation of non-governmental organisations ( NGOs ) created to lucubrate and better international criterions. The ISO initiallycreated general direction criterions ( the ISO 9000 Series ) for organizationsand industries that acknowledged the value of a systematic attack tomanagement. However, as economic growing and the environment have frequently been inconflict with one and other ( and industries today face many political, socialand economic force per unit areas to better their environmental public presentation – Gale, 1996 ) the ISO further developed the 14000 Series, which applied the same managementsystem as the 9000 Series to companies ‘ environmental issues ( The LexingtonGroup, 2005: 5 ) .

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The rules behind the ISO 14000 Series apply to any organisation, public or private, whose activities, merchandises or services interact straight or indirectly with the environment ( The Lexington Group, 2005 ) . The ISO 14000 Series rapidly becametheenvironmental policy criterion for companies to follow, and since its constitution in 1996 1000s of organisations have adopted the Environmental Management Systems ( EMSs ) . EMSs are used in the public and private spheres, at all graduated tables, from national to local authorities, and from big multi-national corporations to little in private owned concerns.

This essay will discourse if, and towhat extent, EMSs ( and specifically the Environmental Reporting subordinate ) will help the construct of sustainable development in application. This essay isstructured as follows: foremost, it discusses the most of import of the ISO 14000standards, the EMS ; 2nd, it considers another ISO 14000 constituent, Environmental Reporting ; 3rd, it analyses and considers the variables andapplication of sustainable development ; 4th, it turns to a few instance studiesto exemplify how EMSs work in pattern ; and eventually, it draws some conclusionsabout how effectual these criterions are in helping the construct of sustainabledevelopment.

Environmental Management Systems

As discussed in the Introduction, the ISO 14000 Series was developed to use the ISO ‘s widely recognizedmanagement systems to a company ‘s environmental issues ( The Lexington Group,2005 ) . The EMS, or ISO standard 14001, rapidly became the internationallyrecognized model for environmental direction, measuring, rating andauditing ( GreenBiz, 2005: 1 ) . To name a few illustrations, the duties ofthe EMS include: making a elaborate environmental policy for an organisation, analyzing the environmental impact of its merchandises, activities and services, set uping environmental aims, helping the organisation in meetingits legal and regulative demands, supplying preparation to employees, andoverseeing the company ‘s auditing process.

The EMS meets international criterions, but is tailored to specific operations, leting companies to command the environmental impact of their activities, merchandises, and services ( GreenBiz, 2005: 1 ) .

Though an organisation could, ofcourse, set up these really guidelines and parametric quantities themselves, companiesoften find that ISO 14001 adherencehelps to run into the ever-increasingenvironmental criterions and concerns of the planetary market place ( GreenBiz,2005:1 ) . Other likely benefits for a company efficaciously implementing an EMSare legion and include, among others:

. a more effectual and systematic attack to pull offing itsinteractions with the environment ( The Lexington Group, 2005 ) ;

. bettering cost-effectiveness ( by salvaging the money and staff timenecessary to pull off environmental personal businesss independently – The Lexington Group,2005, every bit good as by bettering efficiency and in bend cut downing the costs ofenergy, stuffs, all right and punishments – Morrow and Rondinelli, 2002:162 ) ;

. leting companies to convey their environmental policies moreeffectively to neighboring communities and other stakeholders ( The LexingtonGroup, 2005 ) ;

. and bettering their image and pulling clients through theestablishment of a strong image of corporate duty ( Morrow andRondinelli, 2002: 163 ) .

All of these benefits, of class, increase the likeliness that companies will assist lend to sustainabledevelopment. However, the cost and benefits of an EMS ( and in bend, theprobability that the EMS will play a function in sustainable development ) fluctuateconsiderably depending on a scope of standards. These might include: the type oforganization, its bingeco-efficiency, the organisation ‘s possible environmental impacts or hazards, the extent towhich a company antecedently implemented facets of environmental sustainability, and the premium placed on sustainability by the organisation ‘s stakeholders andcustomers ( The Lexington Group, 2005 ) .

Whilst this subdivision has outlined EMSs and their possible beneifts, the undermentioned subdivision will discourse Environmental Reporting, its association and influence on EMS, and its part to the sustainable development of organisations.

Environmental Coverage

Corporate coverage is an essentialcomponent of concern direction. It is defined as the voluntary publicpresentation of information about an organisation ‘s non-financial public presentation -environmental, societal and economic – over a specified period, normally afinancial twelvemonth ( Department of Environment and Heritage, 2005: 1 ) . These can bemade public in a assortment of ways, including as a stand-alone papers, on a companywebsite, or as a constituent of an Annual Report ( Department of Environment andHeritage, 2005 ) .

An Environmental Report is a cardinal constituent of the ISO 14000 Series, and an indispensable measure to increasing transparence and, as a consequence, answerability in a company ‘s environmental patterns ( Department of Environment and Heritage, 2005 ) . The pattern of Environmental Reporting is going more common because of force per unit area from stakeholders, every bit good as a general public demand for increased openness on environmental issues ( Kolk, 1999 ) . Further, some states have now begun to enforce legal duties on houses to bring forth Environmental Reports ( Kolk, 1999 ) .

A Corporate Environmental Report ( CER ) is, in kernel, a agencies to leaving a company ‘s environmental performance.Arguably, the most of import map of the CER is to let the organizationto evaluate its observation of the environmental policies, ends and objectivesset out in its EMS ( United Nations Environment Programme, 2005 ) . It is alsoused to: exhibit a company ‘s EMS and corporate duty ; show tokey stakeholders, every bit good as to clients, that it is following with theirdemands ; assist a company path its ain advancement and place internal strengthand failings ( United Nations Environment Programme, 2005 ) ; and measure itscurrent public presentation and put farther hereafter ends.

The general social demand for increased transparence on environmental issues, and in bend environmental coverage, is exemplified by the fact that the most complete studies are published by industries with hapless or controversial public images, i.e. , the chemical or lumber industries ( Davis-Walling and Batterman, 1997 ) .

In so long as there is objectivityand honestness, environmental coverage can be conducted either internally orexternally ( Rice, 2005 ) . Undeniably, for environmental coverage to beworthwhile, it must be believable, and there is increasing force per unit area from twospecific waies to verify environmental studies: foremost, there is asignificant move from environmental statements and purposes to quantified, comparable, verifiable, and even verified information ( Kolk, 1999: 225 ) ; andsecond, the demand of independent, third-party confirmation andcertification as an about expected component of every worthwhile attempt ( Rice, 2005: 1 ) .

Though Environmental Reporting hasa large function to play in helping the long-run sustainability of an organisation, it is however a procedure plagued with jobs. Research seems to indicatethat environmental coverage is typically lacking and non of a standard tosatisfy the information demands of assorted categories of study readers ( Deegan andRankin, 1999 ) . An independent survey of the environmental studies of the Fortune50 houses found that none provided information that was sufficient forcomprehensive or comparative analyses of environmental public presentation ( Davis-Walling and Batterman, 1997: 1432 ) . Research suggests that one of thebiggest jobs is that a company can get down its environmental reportingwhenever it wants, and that this frequently leads to dissatisfactory consequences.

Environmental Reporting, so, typically comes before the EMS, and could therefore merely act as a statement ofobjectives, and non the researched and analysed study on the achievement ofenvironmental aims under an EMS that it ‘s meant to be. To be practicaland effective ( and non merely a statement of environmental policies ) environmental coverage should truly be developed farther along theimplementation of the ISO 14000 Series. Additionally, it should be a continuousprocess, and referred back to once more and once more in an effort to consolidate theEMS and efficaciously analyze the companies ‘ advancement.

This chronology supports the ISOspecification that organisations seekuninterruptedbetterment: bycontinually describing, as opposed to supplying a one-off initial study, organisations can repeatedly measure and accommodate their EMS. In kernel, it isimportant to underscore that the CER is a agency to environmental betterment andgreater answerability, non an terminal in itself ( United Nations EnvironmentProgramme, 2005: 1 ) .

Consideration of the variables and application of Sustainable Development

The term ‘Sustainable Development’was foremost used in 1987 inOur Common Future, besides known as theBrundtland Report of the United Nations ‘ Commission on Environment andDevelopment ( WCED ) . The definition offered by the Brundtland Report is stillthe most normally used today, and describes Sustainable Development merely, andarguably mistily, as development that meets the demands of the present withoutcompromising the ability of future coevalss to run into their demands ( WCED, 1987:43 ) .

Sustainability is frequently regarded as the ‘buzz-word ‘ of development policy in the 21stCentury. Indeed, as The Economist competently stated: No 1 in their right head is against ‘sustainable development ‘ . Everyone thinks it would be terrific if there were less poorness, less pollution, less disease, less war, less corruptness ( 2002 ) . As an umbrella-term, its WCED definition has been instrumental in making a consensus, but less helpful in making and sketching a model for its accomplishment.

Presently, there are in the part of 70 different definitions for Sustainable Development, and each allows organisations to construe the term in whatever manner they see fit. For that ground, EMS and Environmental Reporting are particularly of import for giving public and private administrations likewise, from a national to a local degree, the standardized model necessary non merely for showing their committedness to the pattern of sustainability, but for doing progress towards its existent accomplishment.

As mentioned in the Introduction, economic growing and the environment are frequently regarded as being at odds, andthe ISO 14000 Standards are peculiarly of import for assisting organizationsand industry to make their coveted degree of sustainability, and to incorporatethe environment into their general model. Determining an EMS is anorganization ‘s first, and most critical measure in set uping what itsenvironmental facets are, and how it is traveling to cover with them. That said, any organisation can develop an EMS, and though it is an of import startingpoint, it proves small about an organisation ‘s sustainability in and ofitself.

Environmental Reporting is hence indispensable non merely to move as the company ‘s ain environmental audit, but to show to stakeholders and society that they are so carry oning themselves in a sustainable mode. Furthermore, accomplishing sustainability is a complicated and long-run ( if non lasting ) procedure ; Environmental Reporting allows a company non merely to measure its achievements, but besides the chance to re-evaluate its mark. The undermentioned subdivision outlines some instance surveies of how organisations have used EMS and Environmental Reporting to minimise their environmental impact.

Case Studies

This subdivision will show a fewcase surveies to exemplify the value of EMSs and Environmental Reporting. Eachcase survey has been selected to demo scope in the pertinence of thestandards every bit good as to show their usage in both the populace and privatesectors.

Solid Waste Management Division, Department of Public Works. Berkeley, California, USA.

Description

The Solid Waste Management Divisionis Berkeley ‘s municipal waste aggregation and disposal installation. It collectsplant dust, garbage and recycling from about 40,000 residential andcommercial belongingss, every bit good as runing a transportation station, anoil-recycling terminal, and a slump and buy-back recycling Centre. The SolidWaste Management System decided to implement an EMS ( affecting approximately 25 per centum of their 102 employees ) for a assortment of grounds, including: improving thefacility ‘s environmental public presentation, every bit good as employees participation inthis betterment ; doing the peculiar division consistent with the City’soverall environmental rules ; the EMS ‘ value as a marketing/publicrelations tool ; the decrease of costs ; and eventually, an increased competitiveadvantage.

Decisions

Through implementing an EMS, theSolid Waste Management Division was able to jointly find whatenvironmental impacts the installation had, or might hold in the hereafter. These werethen ranked and ends set to decrease the environmental impact of the facility.These included: extinguishing 98 per cent of dust atoms, cut downing theelectricity used by 250Kwh yearly, bettering the control of hazardousmaterials brought into the site by 75 per cent, adding three mailings per yearto enhance consumer engagement in recycling aggregation, cut downing waterconsumption by 25 per cent, and cut downing figure of pickups scheduled to reducefuel ingestion and emanations.

Some of the direct benefits andcontributions to Sustainable Development have been: a decrease in airpollution for the full City of Berkeley ; deriving regard and bettercooperation from the Department of Public Works, including budget alterations ; andconsultation by other City of Berkeley Departments and other Solid Wastepractices all over the United States. Additionally, carry oning an EnvironmentalReport to find the effects of the EMS allowed the installation non merely to hum betterments that it had already made, but to analyze them and put newtargets such as: revising the occupation descriptions, rerouting to cut down the numberof stat mis covered each twenty-four hours, and implementing a new dust suppression system.

Beacon Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, United Kingdom.

Description

One facet of the Beacon Council’sEnvironmental Reporting System is a to the full computerised monitoring andtargeting ( M & A ; T ) system for measuring public presentation at all 600 of theirbuildings. Datas from all public-service corporation suppliers ( including electricity, gas, coal, oil, biomass, and H2O ) are recorded in the specializer system. These are thenmonitored and benchmarked against national public presentation, and make the abilityto instigate disciplinary action to better public presentation.

Decisions

As reported by the Beacon Council, the M & A ; T system carries out the undermentioned maps: sets energy marks andmonitors public presentation ; sets energy budgets and controls expenditure ; validatesand verifies measures and recovers overcharges ; and proctors and reduces CO2emissions. The continual coverage of the M & A ; T system has been critical in itsconstant monitoring and improving of the Beacon Council ‘s environmentalsustainability.

Gillepsie Decals, Inc. Wilsonville, Oregon, USA.

Description

Gillepsie Decals, Inc. is a40-employee screen-printing company in Oregon. To develop an EMS, the companytook the undermentioned stairss: foremost, it developed its environmental policy ; 2nd, it identified the company ‘s environmental facets and so ranked them in orderof importance ; and 3rd, it set out environmental ends and developed programsto achieve them.

Decisions

The company made a figure ofimprovements and took important stairss towards accomplishing environmentalsustainability. Two notable illustrations are: one, they reduced the sum ofwaste ink by developing criterions for ink commixture, and a computing machine record ofcolours and mixes for repetition occupations ; and two, they reduced their H2O use by requestinginformation from other companies on their H2O recycling systems, bypurchasing bottled imbibing H2O for employees ( and thereby bettering employeespirits ) ; and by put ining low-flush lavatory theoretical accounts.

Gillespie ‘s have stated their committedness to uninterrupted environmental betterment, and have decided to develop other environmental facets in the hereafter. It is ill-defined whether Gillespie ‘s carried out Environmental Reporting, but it is evident that this procedure would be utile for both corroborating the environmental betterments already made, and finding what remains to be done to accomplish the coveted degree of sustainability.

Decision

EMS and Environmental Reportingwill so assistance in the construct of Sustainable Development in application. TheCase Studies in the old subdivision demonstrated some of the positive resultsof an organisation ‘s execution of an EMS. All three illustrations illustratedhow an EMS, and Environmental Reporting, contribute to the improvedenvironmental public presentation of the establishments in inquiry. The Gillespie CaseStudy was a really small-scale illustration of EMS that demonstrated how the systemcould work even for a little company.

Furthermore, the first two instance surveies surely are a presentation of how the EMS and Environmental Reporting can lend to more than merely their establishments environmental public presentation. In the Berkeley illustration, it showed non merely how an EMS can lend to Sustainable Development for the individual establishment, but besides how this affects the metropolis as a whole, and can act upon similar establishments nation- ( or even world- ) broad. The Beacon Council Case Study is a utile illustration of how EMS can do non merely environmental sense, but fiscal sense as good.

The first two illustrations besides servedto exemplify what a critical constituent Environmental Reporting truly is. Theyvalidated Rice ‘s line of concluding that for an EMS to be effectual, theEnvironmental Reporting non merely has to happen, but occur continuously.Environmental Reporting demands to be pushed farther down the time-line of theISO 14000 Series, and be something that occurs after the EMS has beenimplemented ( so it acts non merely as a statement of aims but as an actualreport ) , and on a continual footing because sustainability it non a one-off andsimple accomplishment.

The Gillespie illustration is hence a utile illustration of how EMS can be effectual, but without consistent re-evaluation and uninterrupted coverage, the first set of alterations are improbable to be followed by another set. If this is the instance, an organisation ‘s environmental public presentation will at best remain dead, but more likely diminution, alternatively of continuously bettering. This will surely non help the construct of Sustainable Development in application.

EMS and Environmental Reporting arenot, nevertheless, the Panacea for Sustainable Development. Reviews of thestandards that are proffered merely because they do non vouch SustainableDevelopment are contrary, and hazard throwing out the babe with the bathwater, or rejecting the indispensable with the unessential. EMS and EnvironmentalReporting are instead two individual parts of a possible solution with an infinitenumber of constituents. They should be seen, and valued, as such.

Plants Cited

Berkeley, City of ( 2005 )Solid Waste Management Division, Department of Public WorksCase Study, available from Eco-efficiency is the primary manner in which concerns can lend to theconcept of sustainable developmentThe vision of eco-efficiency is merely toproduce more from less. Reducing waste and pollution, and utilizing fewer energyand natural stuffs is evidently good for the environment. It is alsoself-evidently good for concern because it cuts companies ‘ costs, excerptsfrom the Bulleting of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development ( The Lexington Group, 2005: 6 ) .