Utility Wade Environmental Management Systems: Do They Make Sense?

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Environmental management systems (EMS) provide organizations of all types and sizes with a dynamic and flexible way to manage their environmental obligations more effectively. They also provide a continuous process of checking to make sure goals are accomplished and systems are in place for taking remedial action if a problem occurs. While legal compliance is a cornerstone of any effective EMS, typical regulatory programs establish minimum requirements but do not ensure that systems are in place to meet these requirements and move beyond compliance by addressing other significant impacts that may not be amenable to regulation. Experience to date indicates that EMSs can, when properly implemented, help organizations improve their performance beyond compliance, prevent pollution, and bring about greater efficiency and reduced costs. EMSs can also give public organizations in particular the structure to continually improve their operations and, at the same time, the flexibility to do so in a way that helps address their most pressing needs and well as the needs of the communities they serve. EMSs establish regulatory compliance as the floor of an organization's commitment to the environment, not the ceiling.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864702784248548

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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