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Chapter 3: Creating an EMS (Overview)

Provided by the International Finance Corporation


Environmental management systems follow a systematic approach of planning, implementing, evaluating and improving. The following diagram outlines the basic steps of the process. Each step is explained in the following chapters.

Two key steps which need to be implemented at the start of EMS process:

  • Obtain the support of top management. Senior managers must be committed to and actively involved in the EMS process from the beginning.
     
  • Involve all employees in the EMS. Promote the idea that environmental matters are a joint task requiring the participation of the entire company. When the EMS is ready, announce the program throughout the organization and encourage all staff to participate.

Planning
1.  Select an environmental task group.
2.  Set objectives and targets.
3.  Prioritize actions
4.  Create an action plan and an action team.
5.  Create a prevention and emergency plan.

Improvement
1.  Creating and and implementing a
     new action plan.
2.  Writing an environmental policy.

Implementing the Action Plan
1.  Train staff.
2.  Communicate EMS information.
3.  Set a budget

Monitoring
1.  Formulate a measurement system.
2.  Establish and define benchmarks.
3.  Regular assessment of EMS implementation     (modify project plan if necessary).


Some people in the organization may view an EMS as a bureaucratic initiative or as extra work in addition to their existing responsibilities.There may be resistance to change or uncertainty of new responsibilities. To overcome these potential obstacles, help needs to be given to employees to understand why the organization needs an effective EMS and how the EMS will help control environmental impacts in a cost-effective manner. Involving staff in the design and implementation of the EMS will demonstrate the organization's commitment to the environment and help to ensure that the EMS is realistic, practical and adds value.


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