Environmental Management Systems

natureSome friends told me that I overlooked this June 5, World Environment Day, as an opportunity to talk about environmental management. Well, without thinking further, I started to write so I could share with you something on this subject that has an increasing impact on the business sector.

The Environmental Management System, or EMS, is a tool by which a company controls products, activities, and processes that have or could have a negative impact on the environment, and thus mitigate it.

This is a complex and inclusive concept, so I propose we start by looking at the regulatory and legal areas involving environmental management:

Environmental policy: related to public or private address of international, regional, national, and local environmental issues.

Spatial planning: understood as the distribution of land uses in accordance with their characteristics.

Environmental impact assessment: set of actions that establishes the effects of projects, plans, or programs on the environment and takes corrective, compensatory, and protective measures regarding the potential adverse effects.

Pollution: study, control, and treatment of the effects caused by the addition of substances and forms of energy on the environment.

Wildlife: study and conservation of living things in their environment and their relationships, in order to conserve biodiversity.

Environmental education: changing attitudes of humans against their own biophysical environment, and toward a better understanding of environmental problems and how to solve them.

Landscape: interrelation of biotic, aesthetic, and cultural factors on the environment.

In a general sense, we can speak of two types of EMS: formal and informal. The former refers to those standard (ISO 14001 and EMAS), while the second one is related to the media and non-documented methods with which an organization manages its interaction with the environment.

What is ISO 14001?

The ISO 14000 is the series of international standards for environmental management. It is the first set of rules that enables organizations worldwide to measure their environmental impact using internationally accepted criteria.

For its part, the ISO 14001 is the first of the 14000 series and specifies the requirements to be met by a system of environmental management.

What is EMAS?

Although ISO 14001 is the only international standard for an EMS, there are other rules that prescribe requirements for a functional EMS.
One such standard is the EMAS or Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (Environmental Management and Auditing System). It is the Council Regulation No 1836/93 of June 29 1993 allowing voluntary participation by companies in the industrial sector in a European program to develop a policy and actions related to the environment and sustainable development.
In short, this is a rich and complex subject. I propose to continue talking tomorrow a little more about the ISO 14001, and its characteristics and certification process.
What do you think?