Choose an Environmental Management System

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					Choose an Environmental
Management System
>   Are you a government agency required to demonstrate government leading by example?
>   Is your organisation required to comply with environmental laws and regulation?
>   Are you looking at ways to improve your overall environmental performance?
>   Does your organisation know how its environmental objectives relate to business objectives?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above, you need a formal system for managing and
improving your environmental performance.

There are a number of different ways of managing the environmental impacts of an organisation. The
type of system that is best suited will depend on the role and activities undertaken by the organisation,
its size and level of complexity, and the resources available.

Options include:
> Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP) such as the ResourceSmart Program for Change
> Environment Management System (EMS)
> ISO14001 accredited EMS.

Costs and benefits of developing an implementing
an environmental improvement plan
Costs                                                 Benefits
> staff/employee time                                 > improved environmental performance
> consulting/auditing assistance                      > meeting government and public expectations
> training of staff                                   > enhanced employee morale
> implementation of actions (up-front costs).         > increased efficiency and associated cost
                                                      > new opportunities, new customers.

Environment Improvement Program
An Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP) provides a specific program of action to identify key
environmental impacts, implement a program to minimise them, and continually improve performance.
Achieving senior management endorsement is the most important factor in effectively managing an
organisation’s environmental impacts, and is the key first step in an EIP. An EIP requires a systematic
approach to addressing impacts, and will include:
> ensuring formal endorsement of the program from senior management
> development of an environmental management policy
> development of a formal process for identifying the organisation’s major environmental impacts
> development and implementation of a plan to address key impacts
> monitoring and reporting progress in reducing key impacts
> evaluating and reviewing progress to develop a new plan, ensuring continuous improvement.
In terms of publicity value, an organisation is able to publicly report on its plan and the progress it has

Informal Environment Management System
This form of Environment Management System (EMS) is based on the ISO 14001 standard but is not
accredited. The standard mandates the following components be included:
> environmental policy
> identification of significant environmental impacts of activities, products and services
> identification of legal and other requirements
> development of objectives, targets and programs
> ensuring resources, roles, responsibilities and authorities are known
> competence, training and awareness actions
> communication and documentation
> document and operational control
> emergency preparedness and response
> monitoring and measurement
> evaluation of compliance
> non-conformance, corrective and preventative action
> internal audit
> management review.

The ISO 14001 Standard uses the following model to ensure continual improvement;
Formal Environment Management System
This Environment Management System (EMS) is accredited to the ISO 14001 standard. As such, it is a
more rigorous approach and has greater publicity and marketing value.

Although this system requires greater resources to implement and ensure accreditation is maintained,
there are some organisations in which formal accreditation will have a significant value, and the more
rigorous approach be more useful in addressing impacts that are outside of an office-based scope.

The table below summarises key components of the different types of environmental programs, for a
typical Victorian Government agency.
Inclusions                        Environmental             Environmental        ISO14001
                                  Management Plan           Management           accredited EMS
Senior management
                                  Yes                       Yes                  Yes
Environmental Policy              Yes                       Yes                  Yes
Key environmental impacts
                                  Yes                       Yes                  Yes
identified in business planning
Plan to address environmental
                                  Yes                       Yes                  Yes
Systems based approach            No                        Yes                  Yes
Procurement covered               Optional                  Yes                  Yes
Buildings covered                 Optional                  Yes                  Yes
Monitoring                        Yes                       Yes                  Yes
Reporting                         Yes                       Yes                  Yes
Continuous improvement            Yes                       Yes                  Yes
                                  Limited to availability                        Excellent,
Publicity value                   of information            Good                 internationally
                                  regarding activities                           accepted approach
Ability to demonstrate a
                                  No                        Yes                  Yes
leadership approach
Focus on economic
                                  No                        Yes                  Yes
Focus on social responsibility    Can be included, but not a formal component

For further information
>   Environmental Management Systems - Victorian Government EMS Model Manual and Guidance
    notes. Available at
>   ResourceSmart Program for Change at

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