Implementation of an environmental management program in companies: key steps and benefits

environmental management system

Carrying out an implementation of an environmental management system is not easy. You need a professional who has a master's degree in environmental management, such as the one taught at the International University of La Rioja. You must have someone who is an expert in energy and environmental management, as well as in legislation.

However, that does not mean that a company is interested in applying this process and has the appropriate steps to prepare for it. Would you be interested in implementing it in your company? So take note of what you will need.

Steps to implement an environmental management program in companies

polluting companies

When establishing an environmental management program, also known by the acronym SGMA, some lines of action must be established so that the process is correct and the system works well.

Thanks to these implemented processes and practices, a reduction in environmental impact will be achieved, in addition to complying with regulations.

And what are those steps? Although they may change depending on the type of company they have, roughly speaking, these would be.

Initial self-assessment and goal setting

In this first step, an investigation is carried out to know the current state of the company, both at an environmental level and in terms of management, opportunities and strengths related to the environment.

The important thing is to know what the current situation of the company is in order to address the path to follow. And it is that, once you have the results of the state of the company, you can determine what the objectives to follow will be. That is, what is going to comply with the environmental policy that will be implemented.

Establish an implementation team

The next step to take for an environmental management program is to have a team to carry out the process. In general, they should representations of the different departments of the company participate. But, in addition, it would be necessary for them to have adequate training in the environment, in project management...

There may also be a leader who is trained in this matter and the rest of the team has notions of both the organization of the company and knowledge about the environment.

Environmental management program planning

environment protected tree

This is one of the most important steps in any environmental management program since it must establish a plan to comply with. In this case, it can be divided into the following sections:

  • Environmental identification and registration. Where the problems or improvements to be made will be established. It comes to be like a list identifying the products and services of the company and how they affect the environment.
  • Legal and other requirements. In the sense of collecting the regulations that are in force in laws, regulations, etc. to meet them. Improvements can even be established on these regulations internally.
  • Development of the environmental management plan. Based on all of the above, the actions that will be carried out to improve the environmental impact of the company are specified in as much detail as possible.

Budget

The next step to consider is about the budget. That is, the investment that would have to be made to carry out the plan.

In this aspect, not only the material cost should be considered, but also human resources and everything that affects the implementation of the plan. It is necessary to adjust as much as possible to reality, although in many cases it is recommended to have a "fund" in case there is an incident that requires a greater investment.

Implementation of the plan

Once you have the guidelines to carry out, you just have to start it up. For this, it is convenient involve the entire company, communicating the plan to the entire workforce with the aim that everyone understands what are the functions and responsibilities that are going to be asked of them and that there is a transition as comfortable as possible towards this new way of working.

In some cases, companies, when preparing the action plan, also take into account a plan B. That is, they anticipate problems that could occur when carrying out the plan so that, if it happens, other activities can be carried out that lead to the same result but in a different way than what was originally proposed.

plan measurement

During the time that the implementation lasts, it is very necessary to keep a measurement and monitoring process to know if it is being carried out correctly. In case there are failures, they can be corrected or change strategies more easily.

At the end of the process, an evaluation must be carried out to verify that everything is correct. However, it does not end there, since it is recommended that there be periodic audits that help determine that everything is working as it should, or, otherwise, modify actions.

Advantages of implementing an environmental management system

leaves flying from plants

Once the steps are applied, and everything is well established, the advantages will not be long in coming.

One of those first advantages is, without a doubt, the to reduce the environmental impact, thus taking care of the environment and the risks that may be suffered when carrying out the activity in the company.

However, it is not the only thing. Another incentive to implement this system is undoubtedly the improvement of brand reputation. Customers, taking into account that there is a greater interest in caring for the planet, feel more identified with companies that allocate part of their capital to minimize environmental impact. And that makes them more recognized.

Another point to take into account is the cost savings. Although initially implementing the system may require an investment, the truth is that, in the medium and long term, there will be significant savings for the company by establishing processes and practices that take care of the environment. Moreover, by applying environmental legislation, problems related to damages, fines and non-compliance with regulations are avoided, which may imply a greater financial outlay.

Is your company prepared for an environmental management system?


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