01 Jun What is meant by environmental management system (EMS)
An environmental management system (EMS) can be developed in compliance with the ISO 14001 standard as part of an organization’s strategy to implement its environmental policy and address governmental regulations. An EMS focuses resources on meeting the commitments identified in the organization’s policy, which could include reducing or eliminating the negative environmental impacts of its products, services, and activities and/or increasing their positive effects.
The three primary processes of a management system include:
- Core processes, their outputs, and the identification of significant environmental aspects and impacts
- Key supporting processes, such as those for maintaining awareness of legal requirements, ensuring competency of employees, providing infrastructure, communicating EMS information, and monitoring and evaluating environmental performance
- Management system supporting processes, such as document control, record control, and internal auditing
Like many quality management systems, environmental management systems reinforce a need to align processes into integrated systems of processes, all focused on providing the highest value to the customer. In this sense, the primary customer of the EMS is the local, regional, and global environment. Secondary customers may include the organization’s owners or shareholders, customers, government agencies, and employees.
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