What Does Environmental Management Mean?
Environmental management is the practice of organizing human activities in order to limit their impact on the natural environment. It can encompass protection of the land, flora and fauna, bodies of water, and the planet’s atmosphere.
Safeopedia Explains Environmental Management
The principal aim of environmental management is to protect the environment, preserve forms of life, and ensure sustainability for future generations. In practice, this can involve reducing carbon footprints, protecting endangered species, and promoting renewable sources of energy.
Under the current regulatory landscape in North America, implementing environmental management systems (EMS) is a voluntary initiative by employers and communities. Although not required, these systems help organizations avoid liability for environmental damage, reduce waste, and improve their corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Main Stages of an Environmental Management System
The most commonly used framework for an environmental management system has been developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for the ISO 14001 standard. It sets out the criteria for an EMS and maps out a framework that an organization can follow to set up an effective management system.
Such a system has five main stages:
- A commitment to improving the environment, which is cemented in official policy
- Identifying operations with negative impacts on the environment, setting targets for improvement, and drafting an action plan for meeting those targets
- Implementing the action plan and ensuring concrete steps are taken to fulfill it
- Monitoring progress to ensure targets are met
- Evaluating the EMS to ensure its adequacy and effectiveness
Multidisciplinarity in Environmental Management
Environmental managers come from a variety of professional backgrounds. They can be academics, policymakers, employees, civil servants, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), among others. Since there is a vast array of human activities that could potentially have an impact on the environment, a multidisciplinary approach is needed to manage those activities.