Environmental management system is an important element in the modern business environment in light of the increased demands for environmental protection. The increases demands are fueled by the considerable effects that manufacturing processes have had on the environment and ecosystems across the globe. This paper provides a report of the need for an environmental management system for a small, growing manufacturing company that produces lithium-ion battery for aviation and automotive industries. The discussion examines what an EMS is, its goals, how it will help the firm comply with environmental laws, and how it will assist the organization to decrease its liability exposures. An explanation of additional benefits of the EMS for the organization and why the company should pursue its certification by ISO 1400 standards is also provided.
Environmental Management System (EMS) in an Organization
A small, growing manufacturing company that focuses on manufacturing lithium-ion battery for the automotive and aviation industries is seeking to expand into the European market in the near future. This strategy has been accompanied with plans of developing a manufacturing operation in the United Kingdom. However, the company needs to consider various aspects in its expansion strategy including corporate safety, health, and environmental protection. This would require the director of corporate safety, health and environment to develop a plan for environmental management system within the organization. This process entails having quarterly meetings with corporate management and formalizing and integrating a formal environmental management system (EMS) within the organization. This paper basically provides a report that would help the company to formalize and integrate a formal environmental management system in the expansion plans.
EMS within the Organization
An environmental management system is defined as a formal and organized approach for managing or controlling environmental issues within an organization. It can also be described as a series of management techniques and principles that are developed to create administrative processes that an organization requires to incorporate environmental issues into its day-to-day business practices (Pataki & Crotty, n.d.). This system can provide a structure for small and medium-sized companies to control, evaluate, and constantly enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of management of environmental initiatives.
Organizations and businesses have increasingly realized that environmental issues need to be better managed in a systematic manner. Similar to the manner in which businesses create financial management systems to enhance efficient use and control of financial resources, they have recognized that environmental management systems can be developed and integrated into an organization's structure and lessen environmental risks and concerns. The use of environmental management systems provides organizations with opportunities to increasingly efficiency and organization in addressing environmental concerns and issues. This is primarily because environmental management systems help integrate such concerns and issues into business decisions and practices. The systems provide a mechanism for controlling environmental responsibilities in an organized and systematic manner. The other way through which environmental management system is by bringing together plans, procedures, and people to control environmental concerns within the organization.
Goals of an Environmental Management System (EMS)
Organizations are increasingly paying more attention to the environmental effects of their business activities because of increased global demands for better environmental performance from companies. These demands come from internal and external stakeholders like customers, shareholders, and policymakers (Urban & Govender, 2012, p.20). One of the goals of an environmental management system is to provide organizations with necessary components for effective control and management of environmental concerns and issues. The system provides organized and systematic manner for dealing with environmental issues and concerns through integration with management requirements to help an organization realize environmental and economic objectives.
The second goal of an EMS is to improve the company's environmental performance given that its production of lithium-ion battery has the potential of considerable negative impacts on the environment. The development and establishment of an environmental management system will help the firm lessen these impacts and improve its environmental performance. The company will achieve this through dealing with short-term and long-term effects of products and processes on the environment. The third objective of an EMS is to provide consistency in the distribution of resources, classification of responsibility, and continual assessment of processes and practices in environmental management. The system maintains consistency by focusing on constant improvement of environmental management processes and practices. The other goal of an EMS is to ensure that environmental...
This implies that the environmental function is considered as an important part of every strategic plan that the organization adopts throughout its operations.
Significance of EMS in Compliance with Environmental Laws
Even though an environmental management system is not a compliance system or mechanism, it plays a significant role in helping an organization comply with environmental laws. Generally, this system is a technique that enables an organization to accomplish and systematically manage environmental performance levels established by the organization . An effective environmental management system helps in ensuring and improving compliance with federal, state, and local environmental regulations.
For this small, growing company that manufactures lithium-ion battery for automotive and aviation industries, compliance with environmental laws is important because of the nature of the manufacturing processes and their potential impacts on the environment. The need for compliance with environmental laws is attributed to the fact that automotive and aviation industries contribute to a significant portion of environmental pollution. Therefore, there is need to ensure compliance with environmental regulations to lessen the potential negative environmental effects (Pataki & Crotty, n.d.).
An EMS will assist the organization to comply with environmental laws because environmental regulations are essential components of the system. The system will also help compliance with environmental laws through identifying legal requirements and developing procedures to ensure compliance across environmental management initiatives. After identification of legal requirements and developing relevant procedures, the system will help the organization adhere to environmental laws by conducting audits to ensure the organization's management follows the respective processes. In addition to policies, objectives, and emergency plans, an environmental management system helps in compliance with environmental regulations through incorporating regulatory requirements (Christini, Fetsko & Hendrickson, 2004, p.330).
The other measure through which the environmental management system will help the organization to adhere to environmental laws is by complementing the company's compliance program. Generally, the EMS does not substitute or interfere with an organization's compliance program but complements existing policies and practices towards adherence with legal requirements for environmental protection. While it is not a compliance program or system in itself, an environmental management system strengthens current regulatory programs and systems. Therefore, the EMS will help the organization to comply with environmental laws by promoting consistency in adherence to legal requirements in environmental protection.
EMS and Reduction of Liability Exposures
The reduction of liability exposures is a major benefit of establishing an environmental management system for an organization. One of the ways with which the EMS will enable the small, growing company to lessen liability exposures is by addressing its regulatory demands in an inexpensive and organized way. The ability to effectively respond to environmental laws and regulatory demands helps in ensuring the organization lessens exposures to liability through adopting effective policies and practices.
Secondly, the system will help this organization to reduce its liability exposures through its model i.e. Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle (N.C. Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance, n.d.). This model incorporates policy, planning, implementation, checking or corrective action, and management review. In this case, the organization's management develops an environmental policy, plans the system, and ensures its execution or implementation. This is followed by continual evaluation of the system and acting on it as well as performing necessary corrective action. The use of this cycle in environmental management system implies that it focuses on constant improvement to ensure the best possible outcomes in environmental protection. This focus not only ensures ongoing review and revision of the system but also provides a mechanism for decreasing the organization's exposure to liabilities. The constant review and improvement of environmental protection initiatives and practices play a significant role in ongoing reduction of liability exposures.
Benefits of EMS for the Organization
Based on its focus toward constant improvement of environmental protection policies and practices, an environmental management system has significant benefits for companies, businesses, and organizations. Apart from the previously described benefits, the environmental management system will provide further benefits to the small, growing company that manufactures lithium-ion battery. The other benefits that the system will provide to the organization include enhancements in productivity, organizational profitability, and competitiveness. Moreover, the organization will develop a green image or reputation through enhanced environmental production initiatives and practices. The organization will achieve this through lessening the amount of waste it generates and enhancing the efficiency resources allocated to environmental protection practices and initiatives. The system will enable the organization to identify and utilize recycling, recovery, and reuse activities. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (2013), additional benefits of the emergency management system to the organization include pollution prevention, increased employee morale, resource conservation, and increased employee awareness of environmental concerns and…
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