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Towards a regional management system - waste management scenarios in the Satakunta Region, Finland

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Local or regional development, economic, quality, social and environmental questions and problems have been addressed in national and regional policy, in the management of a municipal organisation as well as in the traditional or economic management systems of individual companies located in the region. What is common to all of these issues is that they are interdependent and in particular, they simultaneously affect or are affected by private companies, public organisations, research institutions, NGOs and citizen groups of the region in question. They call for a network approach and cooperation. In this paper, the possibilities for a regional network management system are discussed with a case study of waste management scenarios of the Satakunta Region, located in Southern Finland. A Regional Environmental Management System (REMS) extends the company-based and internally orientated environmental management system (EMS), such as the EU Eco-Management and Auditing Scheme (EMAS) or ISO 14001 standard, management model, beyond the boundaries of a single organisation. The ideal of this inter-organisational or network environmental management system is that regional private companies, public organisations, research institutions, NGOs and citizen groups, engage in a cooperative management effort in a regional context. The waste management system of the Satakunta region encompassing 12 regional municipalities is constructed into the main steps of REMS. There are many barriers to the implementation of such a diverse management system as REMS. But the results of this study indicate that, perhaps, the regional systems approach to many different municipalities and many different firms can better prevent problem displacement or problem shifting than more fragmented and isolated management efforts, e.g. of an individual firm or of an individual municipality. Two examples are given for this argument. We therefore suggest that the regional actors and decision-makers should develop and eventually construct a regional environmental management system for the Satakunta Region.

Keywords: regional management system, networks, inter-organisational management, Satakunta Region, regional waste management scenarios, Finland

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