Urban Environmental Management
Cities, EMS and Everything
Putting up a Green Front
| Policy | Planning | Implementation | Checking | Review |

ISO Certification: A Step-by-Step Guide

  • Structure and responsibility
  • Training, awareness and competence
  • Communication
  • EMS documentation
  • Document control
  • Operational control
  • Emeregency preparedness and response
The crutial step to ensure success of an EMS is its implementation and operation. This step outlines the structure and responsibility of the implementation process; calls for training, awareness and competency to be developed; set up communication systems to keep everyone involved informed; document all steps and stages of the EMS; create document and operational control procedures; and also ensure that a plan for emergency preparedness and response is in place.

The two requirements for implementation of an EMS is to define, document, and communicate roles, responsibilities and authorities, and to allocate the resources needed to implement and control the EMS.

Awareness needs to be raised among staff members on the importance of complying with the EMS and how they can make a difference (the significance of environmental impacts of activities, and benefits of personal improved performance). Their roles and responsibilities to achieve EMS implementation, and objectives and targets, should be clarified. Also, the potential impacts of non-compliance with specified procedures should be indicated.

Communication is one of the most important components of EMS implementation. This can be internal and external communications. Internal communication is especially important - it needs to be multidirectional, not just top down. A procedure to receive, document and respond to external communications need to be put in place. With the extensive use of the internet and the world wide web, external communication to the wider public is becoming easier.

EMS documentation is critical in monitoring the implementation process. Responsibilities for documentation need to be clearly set and documents reviewed periodically, revised and updated, and approved by responsible staff. Documents need to be readily available and easy to locate - and obsolete documents retained for reference or other purposes are identifiable as such. The EMS Manual, operating procedures, work instructions, environmental records etc. are examples of EMS documentation.

Parallel to the documentation control process is the operational control process. Here, staff and their activities causing significant environmental impact are identified. EMS procedures and criteria for these staff and activities are established. These procedures and criteria are then communicated to suppliers and contractors for action.

Emergency preparedness is also part of the EMS implementation process. Potential for accidents and emergency situations are identified, and the associated environmental impacts prevented/mitigated. Emergency response and preparedness procedures need to be reviewed and periodically tested.

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Contact: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org