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Environmental Management System

Environmental Management System Information

New York Environmental Leaders - The goal of New York Environmental Leaders is to motivate businesses and organizations in New York to voluntarily implement EMSs, by providing recognition and incentives to organizations that are able to demonstrate, and provide future commitment to, improved environmental performance.

Environmental Management System Guidance

Step 1: The Basics (PDF, 537 K, 43 pages) - this guide will enable the reader to better understand the EMS concept and the potential benefits of having an EMS. It will equip the reader with the information necessary to build support for an EMS within their organization.

Step 2: EMS Development and Implementation Guide (PDF, 1304 K, 155 pages) - a detailed guide to assist organizations that are committed to developing an EMS through the various elements that go into an effective EMS. The guide is broken down into chapters and sections that focus on a particular aspect of EMS development and implementation.

Step 3: EMS Template (PDF, 391 KB, 86 pages) - this section of the guide includes an Environmental Management System Template. The EMS Template will provide you with additional detail regarding how the various aspects of an EMS can be documented.

What is an EMS?
An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a set of management tools and principles designed to create the administrative procedures that an organization needs to integrate environmental concerns into its daily business practices. Basically, an EMS provides a framework for managing environmental responsibilities in a more systematic manner. A properly developed EMS is built on the "Plan, Do, Check, Act" model for continual improvement. In an EMS Standard, the "plan, do, check, act" steps have been expanded into the following five steps: 1) environmental policy, 2) planning, 3) implementation, 4) checking/ corrective action and 5) management review. The most familiar form of an EMS is the 14001 Standard established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1996. Although there are standards for other EMSs, the ISO 14000 standards are becoming widely adopted throughout the private sector in the United States and internationally.

What types of organizations can have an EMS?
Essentially any organization can benefit from an EMS. The highly regulated industrial facility is an obvious candidate for an EMS, but even the most service orientated office operation can make effective use of an EMS. The emissions from smokestacks and discharges from pipes are clear interactions with the environment. However, even the way we travel to work, procure office materials, or plan meetings and conferences can impact the environment. Thus, the EMS is not solely the domain of large private sector manufacturers. To the contrary, EMSs are being implemented at private sector businesses of all shapes and sizes, and at government organizations of all levels.

Why should you have an EMS?
Increasingly businesses have realized that environmental problems would be better managed in a systematic way. Just as businesses develop financial management systems to promote the efficient use and management of monetary resources, they realize that EMSs developed and integrated into the organizational structure will reduce risks from pollution and will help provide an opportunity to be more efficient and organized. First, an effective EMS makes good business sense. By helping you identify the causes of environmental problems (and then eliminating them), an EMS can help you save money. In addition, the EMS will help your organization identify opportunities to prevent pollution, mitigate occupational hazards, and better control those operations that pose the most risk. Second, a properly implemented and audited EMS will aid a facility in maintaining compliance. By requiring an organization to identify each of its compliance requirements and monitoring their ability to meet these obligations the facility is better positioned to stay in compliance.

Want more Information?
The best way to see if an EMS will benefit your organization is to learn more about the concept. The Pollution Prevention Unit has developed an EMS Guidance series to help you learn more. The links above will take you to the guidance series entitled: Understanding and Implementing an Environmental Management System: A Step-by-Step Guide for Small and Medium Sized Organizations.

Any comments or questions?
Contact us at: 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1750;
518-402-9469 (phone); 518-402-9168 (fax)

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    Bureau of Waste Reduction and Recycling
    Pollution Prevention Unit
    625 Broadway, 9th Floor
    Albany, NY 12233-7253
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