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Environmental Management Services - SABS ISO 14000 Series

An EMS is a tool encompassing practices, processes, resources and responsibilities, for implementing environmental management. Such a system should enable organizations to achieve and demonstrate ongoing compliance with environmental regulations. It should also allow organizations to control the environmental impact of all their activities, products and services in compliance with their self-declared environmental policy and objectives. These should also include environmental aspects that organizations can control and on which they can be expected to have an influence. These may include:

  • Air
  • Land
  • Water
  • Natural Resources
  • Fauna and Flora
  • People in the organization
  • Interested and affected parties

Internationally, there has been an evolutionary process in terms of regulatory mechanisms dealing with environmental issues. At the one end of the scale, there are command-and-control mechanisms, the initial approach where regulatory bodies impose legislation and serve penalties for transgressing such legislation. At the other end of the scale is total self-regulation, whereby organizations provide evidence of their environmental compliance, with the result that regulatory bodies relax their control over these organizations.

Somewhere between these extremes lies co-regulation, whereby bodies and organizations work together to achieve the environmental outcome most beneficial to all parties. Organizations that implement an EMS encourage the development of this co-regulatory relationship.

IS0 14000 and guidelines defines the core EMS itself, and the auditing procedures necessary for verification. It further defines three sets of tools that are very important in EMS implementation:

  • Life cycle assessment
  • Environmental performance
  • Environmental labeling

It challenges each organization to:

  • Take stock of its impacts on the environment
  • Establish its own objectives and targets
  • Commit itself to effective and reliable processes, prevention of pollution and continual improvement
  • Bring all employees and managers into a system of shared and enlightened awareness and personal responsibility for the organization’s performance with regard to the environment

In the long term, it promises to establish a solid base for reliable, consistent management of environmental obligations.