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EMS Basics

An EMS is ...

a quality-based management system that effectively integrates environmental considerations into an organization's day-to-day operations and management culture.

Here is a quick look at the elements of most EMS frameworks:

  • Environmental policy - Develop a statement of your organization's commitment to the environment. Use this policy as a framework for planning and action.
  • Environmental aspects - Identify environmental attributes of your products, activities and services. Determine those that could have significant impacts on the environment.
  • Legal and other requirements - Identify and ensure access to relevant laws and regulations, as well as other requirements to which your organization adheres.
  • Objectives and targets - Establish environmental goals for your organization, in line with your policy, environmental impacts, the views of interested parties and other factors.
  • Environmental management program - Plan actions necessary to achieve your objectives and targets.
  • Structure and responsibility - Establish roles and responsibilities for environmental management and provide appropriate resources.
  • Training, awareness and competence - Ensure that your employees are trained and capable of carrying out their environmental responsibilities.
  • Communication - Establish processes for internal and external communications on environmental management issues.
  • EMS documentation - Maintain information on your EMS and related documents.
  • Document control - Ensure effective management of procedures and other system documents.
  • Operational control - Identify, plan and manage your operations and activities in line with your policy, objectives and targets.
  • Emergency preparedness and response - Identify potential emergencies and develop procedures for preventing and responding to them.
  • Monitoring and measurement - Monitor key activities and track performance. Conduct periodic assessments of compliance with legal requirements.
  • Nonconformance and corrective and preventive action - Identify and correct problems and prevent their recurrence.
  • Records - Maintain and manage records of EMS performance.
  • EMS audit - Periodically verify that your EMS is operating as intended.
  • Management review - Periodically review your EMS with an eye to continual improvement.