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The goal of an environmental management system and how to get started

When we talk about the implementation of an Environmental Management System, we start to feel that we are going uphill, but it does not have to be a titanic task. The perfect is the enemy of the good, and the important thing is to start with something sufficient to perfect it over time.

Let's start from the beginning, what is an Environmental Management System?

It is a set of tasks aimed at reducing the environmental impact of a company's productive activities, which are governed by objectives, strategies, and policies, declared and adopted by the company itself, with the purpose of achieving a model of sustainable development in the long term. First requirement: It must be valid for the authority and the community.

Goals of an Environmental Management System

Now that we know this, we must set short and long-term objectives, since only this way will it become part of the essence of the company, being present in all its areas. These objectives will evolve over time and will surely become more demanding as concrete achievements are reached along the way. Your objectives should be focused on the following:

  1. Prevent environmental impacts generated by an organization's activities, services or products.
  2. Achieving regulatory compliance with respect to the relevant environmental components of the business
  3. Establish executive policies or guidelines that determine the company's action guidelines and lead to the fulfillment of its environmental objectives.
  4. Improve the company's image or reputation
  5. Improve relations with stakeholders (related parties or Stakeholders).

On the other hand, the implementation of an EMS requires a commitment to the environmental awareness of all those who make up the organization, a perfect alignment, that everyone speaks and understands the same language so that the same decision-making criteria are used, conflicts are reduced and its effectiveness is guaranteed.

It is understood that the adoption of an Environmental Management System considers that the company is part of the community in its area of influence.

EMS Development Framework

No matter the size of the organization or the industry in which it is inserted, everyone can implement an EMS.

Based on the strategic objectives of the Environmental Management System, it will be necessary to build the pillars on which this new dimension of the organizational culture will be based.

  1. Environmental Policy: Define it as it marks a turning point within the company.
  2. Specific Short-Term Objectives: The definition of concrete and measurable short-term objectives based on the current reality of the organization provides orientation and allows setting priorities for the development of activities.
  3. Action Plan: Tasks, responsible party, and dates are the three elements that ensure the progress and fulfillment of the short-term objectives. The short-term objectives must necessarily be aligned with the long-term objectives.
  4. Human Resources: The execution of the Action Plan will require dedicated human resources to achieve them, and the availability of these resources must be ensured for those responsible for achieving the objectives.
  5. Technological Resources: The digital transformation arrived, and the incorporation of technological tools (software) that support it will help to organize the processes and will make it more efficient in time.
  6. Measure and Control: It should be a constant practice to know the evolution of key indicators and the degree of adherence and compliance to the company's Environmental Policy.
  7. Continuous Improvement: It is necessary to work under a continuous improvement scheme, where the systematic fulfillment of small short-term objectives allows us to meet those large long-term objectives.

The democratization and commitment of the entire organization to the EMS are determining factors in the success of these initiatives. Now that we know this, there are no excuses to start the initiative.

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