Making Environmental Management Systems Work: Pacific Institute
coauthors new MSWG report on using EMSs to communicate with stakeholders
Webposted 3/25/04 For Immediate Release
Plan, do, check, act -- thats the heart of an Environmental
Management System (EMS), which is a systematic approach to managing
an organizations environmental impacts. The growing popularity
of EMSs represents an enormous change in how leading organizations
manage their environmental affairs. Now, some organizations want
to take the next step and use their EMSs to deal with concerns
from outside the plant fence.
In an effort to make EMSs more useful to businesses, environmentalists,
decision makers, and the public, the Multi-State Working Group
on Environmental Performance (MSWG)
has released "The
External Value Environmental Management System
Voluntary Guidance: Gaining
Value by Addressing Stakeholder Needs." The document
is available free of charge at http://www.mswg.org/EVEMS.htm.
"EMS users need help showing people outside their organization
what they're accomplishing and how they are addressing environmental
concerns, noted Bob Minicucci, the MSWG EVEMS Task Team
Chair and EMS Coordinator at New Hampshires Department of
Environmental Services. We hope this guidance document will
help improve communication between corporations, government agencies,
insurance companies, neighbors and other stakeholders so we can
find more win-win solutions that protect the environment without
harming the economy.
This new Guidance document offers advice to those organizations
that want to develop a management system that delivers measurable
and reliable value to external audiences, such as government authorities,
local communities, customers and suppliers, environmental groups,
investors and the financial community, among others."
Historically, nongovernmental organizations have been somewhat
skeptical about the value of EMSs for environmental protection,
but now finally there's something out there that defines high-performing
EMSs that NGOs can get really excited about." says Jason
Morrison of the Pacific Institute who served on the drafting committee
for the Guidance.
The Guidance document focuses on three key elements of successful
Achievement and demonstration of legal compliance
Involvement of external stakeholders
External communications, transparency and reporting.
The Guidance document describes why including such elements in
an EMS will build credibility with external stakeholders, and
provides practical advice on how these particular elements can
be designed and implemented to deliver the desired outcomes.
This Guidance is intended for any organization that is putting
an EMS into place that seeks to address the expectations of, and
secure the confidence of, external audiences.
The Guidance was produced by a team that included representatives
from across the sectors represented within MSWG. Over 20 persons
from these different sectors contributed to the drafting of the
text of the Guidance document, and the text was regularly vetted
through the broader membership of MSWG via its consensus-driven
process. The Guidance is not a policy statement of, nor does it
express any agreements or requirements made by, any of the employers
of MSWG members, specifically including the United States Environmental
Protection Agency or any of the individual states. Rather, it
represents the consensus views and professional
judgment of the wide array of viewpoints and expertise convened
MSWG is a
state-driven organization that convenes governmental, non-governmental,
business and academic perspectives and skills to conduct research,
promote dialogue, create networks and establish partnerships that
improve the state of the environment, economy and community through
systems-based public and private policy innovation. More information
is available online at: www.mswg.org.
The Pacific Institute is an
independent, nonprofit research center working on issues
at the intersection of development, environment, and security.
media release (PDF)