Environmental Management Principles

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What are the Environmental Management Principles?

The key principles of an environmental management system (EMS) are closely related to the quality management principles.

The EMS principles are:

  1. Focus on aspects and impacts
  2. Leadership and commitment from Senior Leadership
  3. Engagement of people
  4. Process approach to managing enviormental aspects
  5. Continuous improvement of the EMS
  6. Evidence-based decision making
  7. Relationship management


What are the key features of an Environmental Management System?

The prominent key features of any EMS will be to recognise, manage and monitor environmental aspects/issiues and their impact on the environment.

These can be broken into further topics following the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) model



These are some actions you need to take during the planning stage:

  1. Understand your organization and its context (as well as the needs and expectations of your interested parties)
  2. Determine the scope of and implement your environmental management system
  3. Ensure leadership and commitment from your top management
  4. Establish an environmental policy for your organisation
  5. Assign responsibilities and authorities for relevant roles
  6. Determine your environmental aspects and the associated environmental impacts
  7. Identify and have access to your compliance obligations (legislation, regulations etc.)
  8. Determine the risks and opportunities for your business and take action to address those and then evaluate effectiveness of these actions
  9. Establish your environmental objectives define indicators and a process to achieve them.

Here is what you do in this stage:

  1. Determine the resources you require to implement and maintain your EMS
  2. Determine the necessary competence of people and ensure they have the appropriate competency and awareness
  3. Establish, implement and maintain some processes for both internal and external communications
  4. Ensure you have methods for creating, updating and controlling documented information
  5. Establish, implement and control your operational processes that are needed to meet your EMS
  6. Determine some potential emergency situations and the necessary response


  1. Monitor, measure, analyse and evaluate your environmental performance
  2. Evaluate whether you meet your compliance obligations
  3. Conduct periodic internal audits of your EMS
  4. Conduct a Management Review your EMS to ensure the systems are suitable, adequate, 
    and effective.

Then finally:

  1. Take action to deal with any nonconformity
  2. Take action to continually improve the suitability, adequacy and effectiveness of your EMS to enhance your environmental performance.

Now rinse and repeat the cycle.


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