Principles for Environmental Management Systems

Companies are judged by their reputations and their codes of ethics. Business management requires you as the leaders within the organization to understand the principles you have for environmental management and how you will conduct your affairs. What do you value? What value are you creating tied with environmental management for your organization, for your customers, and for the world or society?

A company's environmental management system (EMS) standardized to ISO 14001 is used to assist business managers to constantly improve their environmental commitment to prevention of pollution, identifying their environmental business risks. The organization's management system needs to be appropriate to the nature, scale, and environmental impacts of its activities, products, and services.

ISO 14001's definition of environment is “surroundings in which an organization operates, including air, water, land, natural resources, flora, fauna, humans and their interrelation. Note: Surroundings in this context extend from within an organization to the global system"

This is the environment that an organization needs to consider in its management system.

There are many benefits tied to developing an EMS, from providing a system that would provide due diligence to managing your business from reactionary to anticipatory, shifting your focus from end-of-pipe to point source control. This also can result in improved cost efficiency in operations, due to reductions in consumption for energy, water, and materials or changes in materials used in production due to environmental impacts. There may be reduced insurance contributions and claims due to environmental programs put in place, and increased sales due to environmentally green products.

Companies today recognize the importance of commitment to sustainable development, which ties closely with integration of environment and economic goals. Due to social media, consumers want to purchase a product from a company that has a long-term commitment to a cause, such as the protection of clean water, environmental climate change, health and disease, and economic development.

Many marketing initiatives today are tied to environmental events, such as Earth Day, with the recycling and reuse of e-waste and empty ink cartridges. Many companies have gotten on the bandwagon to market themselves and their products through their efforts to reduce environmental impact on the economy, from the recycling of tires (rubber), mattresses, diapers, glass, and cable (copper) to the recovery of oil spills.

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