Urban Environmental Management
Cities, EMS and Everything
Putting up a Green Front
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A Canadian Example: Hamilton-Wentworth

The decision to develop an EMS is also based on the fact that it provides many benefits for both Regional Council and Departmental Management. It creates a structured process for ongoing consideration of community concerns about environmental and service delivery issues by regular identification and prioritization of the issues of concern; establishing measurable objectives and targets to address the concerns; allocating the resources and defining the structures and responsibilities required to achieve the objectives and targets; and communicating with the community on how their concerns are reflected in the objectives and targets and being addressed through the allocation of departmental resources.

In terms of managing daily operations, an EMS is expected to create a structured mechanism for ensuring compliance with environmental and other statues and regulations; providing the evidence of due diligence when an environmental incident occurs; reducing both corporate and employee liabilities, in particular insurance claims; improving employee health and safety and therefore reducing lost time and insurable risk; increasing employee moral by creating a focused direction for the Department; spreading environmental responsibility throughout the organization, in particular to those personnel directly associated with the identified environmental impacts; identifying potential operational improvements and efficiencies and associated financial savings; improving the efficiency of service delivery by creating a cycle of continuous improvement; and creating the evidence that the community's environmental issues of concern are being identified and controlled in the delivery of the services.

Source: Bekkering Mark and David McCallum (1999) "The Benefits of ISO 14001 for Municipal Government: The Hamilton-Wentworth Experience" Municipal World, March 1999

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Contact: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org