The environmental management systems

Any company, through its activities, impacts on several environmental issues. Among the main:

1. emissions to air, water and soil;

2. generation of waste;

3. consumption of raw materials and energy;

4. use of hazardous substances.

The environmental efficiency of the company depends of course on the methods of organization and management of production. Improving these aspects, in addition to the advantages in terms of image for "green" companies, can lead to a reduction in consumption with economic and management advantages.

Environmental Management Systems (EMS) are tools of organization of the company, to help and guide the company in the process of business improvement.

Managing environmental aspects means:

• identifying the production and commercial stages in which certain environmental aspects are affected;

• seeking (new) ways of working or (new) technologies to improve environmental performance and the priority areas to be addressed;

• establish, adopt and monitor environmental procedures.

The system is imposed starting from the knowledge of the initial state (initial environmental analysis) and then from the assessment of the "load" of the various activities on the environmental aspects.

At this point the entrepreneur chooses which are the goals of improvement that you want to put and that will result in an environmental policy and a program of environmental improvement of the company.

The improvement is achieved through:

• the implementation of the interventions envisaged in the programme, for example: replacement of boilers or installation of photovoltaic systems;

• the correct application of environmental procedures, including changes to normal procedures to improve environmental efficiency.

Environmental management systems shall include quantitative assessment of environmental performance (consumption, emissions, anomalies) and control (initial and periodic) through checks and audits. The periodic review of procedures shall also make possible to assess the achieved objectives and, if necessary, to establish new ones.

Among the main internationally recognised and accredited environmental management systems are the ISO 14001 standard and the EMAS (Environmental Management and Audit Scheme) Community Regulation. The ISO 14001 standard is a voluntary environmental quality certification that attests the concrete commitment to minimise the impact of the company on the environment. The EMAS certification establishes at European level the achievement of excellent results in the environmental field, and requires continuous improvement of environmental performance, as well as better communication with the outside. The two certifications are both voluntary and independent of each other, although the ISO 14001 certification can represent an intermediate step, optional, towards obtaining the EMAS certification (which has more stringent requirements).

For further info, please visit:

•     The benefits of environmental certifications

•     ISO 14001 standard

•     The EMAS Community Regulation

•     GreenSGA website

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