عوامل مهم در شناسایی و ارزیابی جنبه های زیست محیطی در زمینه EMS : تجارب در سازمان های سوئدی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|6421||2004||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 12, Issue 1, February 2004, Pages 13–27
Research is lacking on the process of identification and assessment of environmental aspects in an environmental management system (EMS) context. The aim of this paper is to contribute knowledge by identifying factors of importance for the process that can be used as a basis when developing existing methods for identification and assessment of environmental aspects. The empirical base is quantitative and qualitative data from 46 ISO 14001-certified or EMAS-registered organizations from three counties in Sweden. Problem areas are also identified through a review of the concept literature in the EMS area. Six important areas where the identification and assessment process can be improved are identified: the definition of environmental aspects, the procedures for update of aspects, the aggregation of aspects, the exclusion of business considerations in the assessment, employee and stakeholder participation, and the competence levels of people involved in the process. Since the empirical data is taken from Swedish organizations, the results of this study are valid for Swedish conditions and may not be valid for other countries.
In working systematically with environmental issues in Swedish organizations the concept that is most commonly employed is that of the Environmental Management System (EMS). Most of the EMSs in Swedish industry are implemented according to the international standard ISO 14001 or the EU-regulation Eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS). At the time for this study, the total number of ISO 14001-certified or EMAS-registered organizations in Sweden were a little less than 1000 . The implementation of an ISO 14001-based EMS usually starts with an initial review of the present situation. The review includes an inventory of all environmental aspects, relevant laws and regulations and existing environmental procedures. The initial review forms the basis for the environmental policy, environmental objectives and targets and environmental management programs. The system is then built up by documented procedures and instructions controlling activities related to the most significant environmental impacts. When the system is implemented, system audits are made to check the efficiency of the system and management carries out a management review to check the system and improvements  and . Elements of the system in which environmental aspects are identified and significant aspects are determined, are, without a doubt, the most important parts of the standard and the EMS, since these elements determine the shape and focus of the entire EMS ,  and . The role of the significant aspects is illustrated in Fig. 1. The significant aspects form the basis for establishing environmental objectives, targets and programs. The relation of the significant aspects to the environmental policy is not as clearly stated in ISO 14001 as the relation to the objectives, but to be able to establish a suitable environmental policy an organization must be aware of its significant aspects. In addition, the significant aspects are instrumental in determining which individuals should get additional environmental training and which procedures and instruction should be documented. The environmental aspects are also the starting point when establishing environmental performance indicators (EPI), which help the organization to evaluate its environmental performance.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The authors of the concept literature within the EMS area warn their readers that the process of identification and assessment of environmental aspects is associated with difficulties and confusion. The findings in the case organizations strengthen these conclusions. Six important areas where the identification and assessment process can be improved are identified: the definition of environmental aspects, the procedures for update of aspects, the aggregation of aspects, the exclusion of business considerations in the assessment, employee and stakeholder participation, and the competence levels of people involved in the process. The first difficulty arises even before the identification and assessment process can begin, in the definition of an environmental aspect. The definition in ISO 14001 seems to create more confusion than it really helps. The wisest thing to do is probably to follow the advice of Woodside et al. (1998) and not focus so much on finding the ‘right’ definition, but instead go after what feels right for the organization . Most of the case organizations have done a good job in identifying environmental aspects in the initial environmental review preceding the implementation of the EMS, but the process is seen as too much of a one-occasion process. If the environmental aspects are to be continually updated, as they should be, the procedure must be clearly understood and documented. The degree of aggregation of aspects depends on what definition of environmental aspect the organization chose to use and the size of the organization. How an organization chose to aggregate its aspects is important for making the assessment controllable and effective. It is impossible to generally say how many aspects are right for an organization for the assessment process to be effective, but the number of aspect must not be so great that they cannot be compared with each other. Larger organizations should avoid aggregating aspects to an organization level. It is better if the department managers or process owners are responsible for identifying and assessing the aspects connected to activities under their control, in order to give incitements for increased environmental awareness and competence. It has been indicated by many of the environmental managers in the case organizations that they need more training and experience in the environmental area to make a qualified identification and assessment of aspects and to develop the EMS. Of course, this can be achieved through training and help from external consultants, but increased involvement by employees throughout the whole organization will increase the competence level and enhance the possibility for environmentally sound decisions. The competence regarding business criteria in the assessment process is greater than environmental criteria in most organizations. Tough market conditions together with available internal competence mean that it is only natural for organizations to want to include business criteria in the assessment process. However, organizations with an EMS should be careful about how they assess their aspects. The major aim of an EMS is continual environmental improvements, and many stakeholders start to question the results of EMSs and what the organizations really mean by their significant environmental aspects. The most credible way for an organization to define its significant environmental aspects is probably to exclude all business criteria at this point. Most stakeholders will understand that an organization is not working with all its significant aspects directly, but they will criticize an organization that slips in business criteria where they do not belong. Finally, none of the case organizations let any stakeholders take part in the assessment process. This comes as no surprise, but organizations should not rule out the possibility of working together with representatives of neighbouring companies/parties, NGOs or customers. By inviting these stakeholders, an organization can improve its environmental image at the same time as valuable competence is added to the assessment process.