Environmental Management Systems (EMS) allow organizations to systematically manage their environmental and health safety matters. An EMS provides organizations with a structured approach for managing environmental and regulatory responsibilities to improve overall environmental performance, including areas not subject to regulation such as resource conservation and energy efficiency. An EMS can also help organizations better integrate the full scope of environmental considerations and get better results by establishing a continuous process of checking to make sure environmental goals are met. EMS implementation ensures that procedures are in place for taking remedial action if problems occur. From a business perspective, they can often help make organizations more efficient and more competitive and help address other important issues such as security at key facilities. EMSs do not replace the need for regulatory and enforcement programs, but they can complement them.
EMSs can result in business and environmental benefits. For example, an EMS may help you improve environmental performance by enhancing compliance and reducing/mitigating risks; prevent pollution and conserve resources; increase efficiency/reduced costs; and enhance image with public, regulators, lenders, and investors.
Developing and implementing an EMS may have some costs, including an investment of internal resources such as staff/employee time; costs for training of personnel; and costs associated with hiring consulting assistance, if needed.
The key to effective environmental management is the use of a systematic approach to planning, controlling, measuring and improving an organization's environmental performance. Potentially significant environmental improvements (and cost savings) can be achieved by assessing and improving your organization's management processes. Many environmental "problems" can be solved without installing expensive pollution control equipment.
ADEQ/AQD provides this basic information on EMS and sources of additional information for persons interested in developing and implementing an EMS for their businesses.