Reducing environmental impact is not an effective issue management strategy on its own. Environmental issues have both a scientific and an ethical dimension and attempts to manage issues dispassionately will not be very successful. Another reason for EMS failure is that organisations tend to follow a top-down approach by developing their environmental policies first, followed by the management procedures as suggested by the individual clauses of the standard. Some ISO14001 accredited management systems indeed fail to deliver and are only maintained for the sake of accreditation.
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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.
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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.
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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.