An Environmental Management System (EMS) as a method or tool for systematically addressing environmental issues within an organisation has supported large public building and universities around the world in order to approach proactively compulsory and non-regulated challenges, which may be analysed from an economic, social, environmental and legislative point of view. However, despite the benefits of EMSs as a framework for continual environmental improvement, there are some limitations such as: high costs, lack of awareness for implementing them, time consumed, inconsistencies between auditors auditing the same system (due to audits are evaluated subjectively), deficient of organisation structures, management commitment and employees engagement.
It clearly demonstrates that an EMS is a tool and not a solution itself. Nevertheless, the benefits for reducing environmental and health risks, the development of EMSs can also be used to improve other management systems within the same organisation and therefore, enhance image with public, regulators and investors.
Furthermore, some other tools can be used within environmental system process to enable better decisions and inspire new queries in the organisation. A good example is the implementation of a dashboard to give instant summary of status of consumption and to identify energy and materials use. It will help to empower student and staff to reduce energy and material consumption, promote recycling and efficiency.
Potential Benefits of implementing an EMS
An EMS is a set of processes and practices that enable an organisation to determine and implement environmental policy, reduce environmental impacts and increase its operating efficiency. For a detailed understanding of potential benefits of implementing EMSs in organisations, those are divided into three parts:
- Economic aspects
- Saving money in key activity areas
- Increasing efficiency which will potentially reduce costs
- To attract new customers/markets
- Social and Environmental aspects
- To provide assurance of environmental performance to key stakeholders, marketing and reputational benefits
- To provide a systematic approach to sustainability that engages the organisation at all levels
- To improve environmental performance
- Pollution prevention
- Resource conservation
- To enhance employee morale
- Employee awareness of environmental issues and responsibilities
- Legislative Aspects
- To help ensure compliance with environmental legislation and regulation
- To support organisations for complying with environmental regulations.