Urban Environmental Management
Cities, EMS and Everything
Putting up a Green Front
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Justifications for Coherent and Sustained EMS Action   

In most developing cities of the world, environmental management is seen as a 'luxury' that is the orbit of only high-income economies. Environmental projects are the first to be axed when cost-cutting measures are taken.

The key is to develop appropriate justifications, along with a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system, that can be used when implementing a city-wide EMS. This goes hand-in-hand in understanding the long-term and indirect impacts of proper environmental management. For example, a good local environment means good healthy surroundings that are not disease-forming, leading to good individual and household health. This consequently means better labour productivity, and money saved from health costs etc. Environmental programmes and projects by themselves create jobs, increase household incomes and create better awareness of its advantages and positive impacts.

Some of such justifications of a city-wide EMS includes:

  • Proof that ISO 14001 assures urban residents of commitment to demonstrable environmental management
  • Maintaining good public/community relations
  • Proof that it has satisfied any environmental laws/legislation/rules - therefore improving quality of life in the city
  • Obtaining better goods and services (especially those that are environmentally friendly) than would have been available without accreditation to the standard
  • Proof that ISO 14001 in any way enhances the image or livability of the city
  • Meeting national policy and programme requirements
  • Improving cost control in any quantifiable way
  • Reducing incidents that result in liability, or other similar clean-up/remedial costs
  • Demonstrating reasonable care to any urban stakeholders
  • Conserving input materials and energy or reducing waste
  • Fostering development and sharing environmental solutions
  • Improving industry-government relations
  • Following global and national norms
  • Improving Employee Motivation
  • The establishment of records has led to better business management
  • Less impact on the environment

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Contact: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org