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Environmental management systems
The EPA has found that most business owners are overwhelmed by the variety of different environmental management systems and struggle to know where to start addressing their environmental issues.
For this reason, the EPA has found that a DIY visual mapping system called eco-mapping is a great way for businesses to create a simple environmental action plan with their staff.
Eco-mapping is not a goal in itself but a visual process to identify the environmental aspects in a plant or industry, quickly and simply.
An eco-map is a diagram of the plant showing the locations where attention is needed to improve environmental performance.
Eco-maps are useful because they permit a fast, highly visual understanding of where problems or potential issues are within an organisation. Once completed, eco-mapping can serve as the basis for a wider environmental management system.
The benefits of eco-mapping:
- Eco-mapping allows an organisation to visualise its environmental impact.
- It can be used to promote a cultural change within an organisation by encouraging employees to become involved in environmental thinking.
- It can provide a method for communicating environmental assurance to stakeholders.
- It provides a systematic review for wide ranging environmental issues.
- Eco-mapping can provide a base upon which to seek other environmental standards.
A free CD, Environmental Management System – using Ecomaps is available by contacting the EPA.
For more information about eco-mapping, please visit Business Sustainability Alliance.
There are also a number of other eco-efficiency tools that businesses can use including:
- Environment Improver Program
- Accredited Environmental Management Systems (EMS)
- Diagnostic tools – ways to find out what can be improved
- Specialist tools – to help with specific issues.
Carbon footprint and climate change
Climate change is one of the biggest unknowns for businesses. It has the potential to impact on the availability, variability and quality of raw materials, energy and water supply, as well as impacting on markets and supply chains.
The potential effects are extremely variable and some effects are already impacting on business.
Businesses are advised to keep good relations with their suppliers and markets in order to help their business adjust with the changing environment.
Possibly one of the hottest topics in the business world is 'carbon footprint' and moving towards 'carbon neutral' organisations. This is a relatively new area yet growing rapidly.
‘Greening the supply chain' is a way of reducing the effects of business activities on the environment and bringing benefits to both customers and suppliers.
The benefits include better communication, more efficient distribution of goods, quicker market response and reduced costs.
The EPA has recognised that businesses that operate eco-efficiently strive to continually improve their resource use. In doing so, employee, client and supplier relationships can be improved and the benefits of supply chain improvements promoted.
These improvements can take many forms from improved freight logistics (backloading, collaborating with suppliers, improving timing), to in-depth joint projects that improve the design of products, packaging or production of your suppliers.
Business Sustainability Alliance
The Business Sustainability Alliance is a collaboration of agencies to provide services to businesses. The alliance comprises:
- Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy
- SA Water (Water Conservation Branch)
- Zero Waste SA
- Environment Protection Authority.
The aim of the alliance is to coordinate the delivery of government services for industry in the specific areas of sustainability, climate change and a carbon constrained environment.
Benefits of the alliance include:
- less duplication of services
- increased capability to add new services (gaps)
- ‘single point of entry’ to government services
- improved ability to attract and distribute federal government funds
- consistency across agencies.
Last modified: 24/07/2012 02:48 pm