An environmental management system (EMS) is a comprehensive, organized and documented system for an organization to holistically manage its activities that affect the environment. The EMS most commonly followed in the United States is described in the international standard ISO 14001.
How does an EMS relate to pollution prevention (P2)? Pollution prevention is the practice of reducing or eliminating wastes or pollutants at the source. This involves thinking in a broad and comprehensive way about environmental impacts, making P2 planning and implementation the most common basis for an EMS. Even if a company does not feel they are ready for an EMS, pollution prevention strategies are a great place to start.
Currently, high-tech computer companies, the automotive industry, and foreign-owned (European and Asian) companies are leading the way to EMS implementation. Automotive manufacturers are requiring their parts suppliers to implement EMSs, and in Europe, ISO 14001 certification is becoming a standard. Many companies in the United States sell products to Europeans, and in order to compete with certified industries, certification is the only solution.
There are companies in other industries that have taken the initiative to become ISO 14001 certified, and DES hopes that New Hampshire industries will implement an EMS in their facility in the near future. Recently, two Governor’s Award winners have become ISO 14001 certified. They are Loctite Corporation, a manufacturer of adhesives and mold release compounds, and Millipore, a manufacturer of filtration devices for the high technology market, and Rockwell Automation, an assembler of sensing devices and surface mount electronics.
DES Fact Sheets:
CO-11 Environmental Management Systems
EPA and related Links:
Does your environmental management make you a top performer? Is your environmental performance beyond legally-required minimums? Would you like some recognition of this? Then, EPA’s National Environmental Performance Track may be for you!
EPA’s Environmental Management Systems Page
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