Shell Leman D

One of the services that I offer is advice about environmental management systems.

A possible explanation for the failing of environmental management systems is in my view that ISO is asking the wrong question, namely: “how best to reduce your environmental impact?”. This question condemns your company to keep justifying its residual environmental impact. The question increasingly ignores the economic aspects of running a responsible business and results in internal and external communication conflicts, to deteriorating trust, additional unrealistic expectations and costly retrofits. It is therefore better to pose a different question: “how best to address societal expectations?”. This formulation can be aligned more effectively with other company objectives and that results in solutions that are more effective.

An environmental management system that follows this question is built from the bottom up; by asking what is possible. Despite the fact that the approach differs fundamentally from ISO, such a system fully meets the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard. The approach ensures realistic goals and objectives and prevents that promises are made that the company cannot keep. This results in:

  • Solutions that are more effective,
  • An effective environmental management system,
  • A better handle on costs,
  • Greater social acceptance.

A short conversation may be long enough for giving adequate advice on environmental management systems, but usually it takes more time. A single conversation is sufficient to confirm that you have already taken the right steps or to conclude that my advice has no added value for your organization. Otherwise, a short conversation could be the basis for a follow-up meeting. Unless a lot of time is involved in traveling, such a conversation is therefore free of charge.

Related case studies

How to avert legal challenge by Greenpeace

Magus EOR onshore terminal, case studies

How to unlock stalemate negotiations

Douglas platform, case studies

How to ensure proactive environmental management

Cygnus field development map, case studies

Related posts and tools

Panda coin

A visualization of the conflict between development and conservation

This page aims to visualize the conflict between development and conservation. Sets of images are presented to show that an incomplete definition of nature and an incomplete sense of accountability will ultimately hinder our progress.
Boat navigating the river

Exploration of environmental responsibility

This article explores the meaning of the term environmental responsibility. It makes a distinction between healthy responsibility and unhealthy responsibility. I believe that modern environmentalism leads to disproportionate feelings of responsibility and immobilization. Responsibility is not only about your own behavior, but also about your interaction with others and about the context of your behavior. If we act on this, we may discover our underlying motivation and see new ways to improve the situation at least a little bit.
Modern and classic windmills and Jean Jacques Rousseau

Beyond the ideas of Jean Jacques Rousseau

The success of contemporary environmentalism is largely due to the philosophy of Jean Jacques Rousseau. It is unfortunate that the movement doesn't seem to realize that their success is also limited by his philosophy. The question how our environmental impacts should be reduced is no longer the right one. It should be replaced with the question: how do you want to live on this planet?
Train in front of The Hague skyline

Polarization and reducing the environmental burden

Polarized engagements are normal and almost feel natural. Why is it beneficial to continue like this; who wins? In this post, I would like to demonstrate that a polarized approach is ineffective and how environmental communication can be improved. Simple logical tests can be applied to invalidate polarized arguments and to identify common ground. An analysis of payoffs and costs can reveal further options for bridging differences.
Tulips_cultural symbol of the Netherlands

Reducing environmental impact without making anybody wrong

It is not difficult to blame nuclear energy, meat, cars, fossil fuels, windmills, coal plants or intensive farming for the world’s environmental problems. Is it possible to reduce our environmental impact without making anybody wrong? This article shows the mechanisms behind these accusations. That insight invites people to see new opportunities and make creative choices.
Publication Image Minister Cullen Warwick

Stakeholder Interaction in Environmental Management

The International Centre for Oil and the Environment (ICOE) has recently launched its publication titled: Encompassing the Future; a three volume, ten section and 59 chapter publication in print and digital format which draws on 40 years of inter-disciplinary knowledge and experience in environmental, health and safety and performance management.
Organizations depicted in intersecting cogs

A new future for managing environmental issues

The method described in this publication is a novel and more effective approach for the management of environmental issues; one that recognizes and pro-actively manages external expectations as well as addressing the environmental impact. The approach was refined in cooperation with Ian Buchan from ENGIE E&P UK Limited.
Sheeps bones in field; very much nature

The definition of the words nature and natural

Roture is an existing word in French, but in this post, I introduce a new and different meaning of the word. Contemporary Western environmental thinking uses the word nature in a manner that is ill-suited for environmental challenges such as the debate about global warming.
Children's Tug of War

Why the Dutch Climate Act (Klimaatwet) is ineffective

Just before the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, parties in The Netherlands submitted a proposal to parliament to establish a Dutch Climate Act (Klimaatwet). The idea is to embed long-term climate targets in the law in order to overcome the political tendency to prioritize short term targets over long term ones and the tendency to wait for other countries to act first. I do understand the eagerness to act, but there won’t be much progress if actions continue to be based on an outdated philosophy.
Theater visitors in anticipation

The difference between subjective and objective environmental data

Informed decisions need to be based on unbiased information; but is that even possible? It is important to realize that questions and statements are value driven. When I look at data, I want to separate the facts from their cultural interpretation.
Staged battle in field

Which side to choose in a polarized environmental debate

Despite believing that the polarization around environmental issues is grounded in our common culture and that the resulting conflict is artificial, I still find the feud between parties frustrating. If only I could tempt parties to stop their rant long enough for them to discover that their differences are not real.
Segments of 4-quadrant ES

Four-Quadrant EIA

The Four-Quadrant EIA is the EnvAid flagship approach for carrying out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). In addition to managing your issues in a very focused and effective way, a Four-Quadrant EIA results in a significantly more positive presentation of your project.
HSE meeting

Identification of Environmental Management Strategies

An effective environmental management system is built around effective environmental management strategies; i.e. ones that are capable of dealing with the technical and emotional nature of environmental issues, the often conflicting interests and that offer constructive ways of managing these issues.
ISO 14001 sign on treetrunk

Proactive EMS

Although the formal purpose of an Environmental Management System (EMS) is to reduce the ecological footprint of an organization, its main purpose is to add business value. A proactive EMS should be able to deliver the most cost effective solutions for meeting environmental quality standards, legislative requirements and stakeholder expectations.
Lily pads and building reflection

Environmental Management 3.0

Environmental management 3.0 combines the strengths from natural science and social science and adds cultural awareness. This third perspective is aimed at understanding why environmental issues are important. EM 3.0™ values emotions as much as it values facts. EM 3.0™ manages emotions.
Sculture by Tom Otterness on Scheveningen beach

Remain constructive amidst polarized views

In my mind, human development and environmental protection are equally important. As a species, we will continue to shape our surroundings to fashion our own needs. I am also a firm believer in people as a force for good, and see technology as the hand that makes us more sustainable. I see modern environmentalism as a product of human development and not as a reason for alarm.
Laakmolen Den Haag

What are the limits of green ideology?

The ideology of the current environmental movement is a product of the society we live in, but it is not as effective as it needs to be. We need to start a new conversation about the environmental impacts that we have. Otherwise, we don’t see what we have achieved nor what we could be achieving.
Pirat sign on Scheveningen beach

How to depolarize the environmental debate

There is something theatrical about the polarization in our society between those advocating development and those advocating environmental conservation. The discussions appear to be between opposites, but are actually between partial definitions of these opposites. Like a play within a play. Such opposition is a distortion of responsibility.
Section of cover of Dutch energy report

Why is environmental progress so slow?

The Dutch Government has recently published a draft vision for its transition towards a sustainable energy policy. It is an open invitation to sit at the table but unless we change our mind-set and stop blaming each other over global warming, people won’t stay at the table for very long.
Magpies on Volkwagen dealer

Why Volkswagen may have cheated

The car manufacturer Volkswagen programmed its diesel engine tuning software so that those engines would meet stringent atmospheric emissions regulations. The engines did not actually meet the emission standards and that has cost them dearly. But is that all there is to it?
Scultures at Dutch High Council

Are these blogs biased?

This blog intents to provide a constructive contribution to the ongoing debate about the protection of our planet against the impact we have on it. This first blog will be about the tinted glasses that I wear. The quest to understand my own perceptions has and continues to be one of the most rewarding adventures that I have embarked upon.