Critical success factors for environmental management systems

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Courtesy of ABS Consulting

Public concern about environmental degradation from human activities is putting increasing pressure on businesses around the world to reduce or eliminate the environmental impacts of their operations. To improve envi ronmental performance, organizations should implement effective environmental man agement systems (EMSs) that allow them to better control the environmental impacts of their operations. ISO 14001, the recognized International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard, was released in 1996 (and revised in 2004) to establish basic EMS requirements.
ISO 14001 is voluntary and gives businesses an internationally recognized and accepted framework for implementing and maintaining a system for environmental management. The standard contains no environ mental performance requirements; these are identified and determined by the business, depending on the location of its operations, specific requirements and stated objectives for local and corporate entities. ISO 14001:2004 provides a baseline EMS to enhance an organization’s environmental performance through a proactive system that promotes continuous improvement and pollution prevention. Additionally, some organizations benefit financially from an effectively implemented EMS by using it as a mechanism to reduce costs related to environmental issues and to identify opportunities for improving financial performance.

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