Urban Environmental Management
EMS for Cities
Putting up a Green Front
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ISO Certification: A Step-by-Step Guide

  • Environmental aspects and impacts
  • Legal and other requirements
  • Objectives and targets
  • Gap analysis
  • Programme to reach objectives and targets
The second element of an EMS is Planning. Planning an EMS requires consideration of the following: What are the "Environmental aspects" of the organization? What laws and other requirements need to be complied with? What are the organization's environmental objectives and targets? Has an Environmental Management Programme been developed? In essence, the organization will need to consider how it is impacting on the environment, what it needs to aim for, and how it should go about achieving those goals.

ISO14001 requires that an environmental management system is planned properly. It requires the organization to consider the following carefully: Environmental Aspects; Legal and Other Aspects; Objectives and Targets; and an Environmental Management Program

The planning process begins with the identification of "Environmental Aspects", and "Significant Environmental Aspects". An "environmental aspect" is defined by ISO14001 (Section 3.3) as an "element of an organization's activities, products, or services that can interact with the environment." A "significant enviornmental aspect" is an environmental aspect that has a "significant environmental impact". "Environmental impact" is defined by ISO14001 as "any change to the environment, whether adverse of beneficial, wholly or partially resulting from an organization's activities, products, or services" (Section 3.4).

Sample environmental aspects include: Energy use/consumption (building, heating, cooling, lighting); Material consumption (paper, office products); Nonhazardous waste (scrap paper, empty cartons, containers); Aluminum can and paper recycling; Chemical use/consumption (degreasing and cleaning agents); Water use/consumption; Energy use/consumption; Hazardous waste (sludge cake); Wastewater discharges; Unplanned releases; Chemical use/consumption (oils); Energy use/consumption; Material consumption (metal plates) ; Metals recycling/waste prevention; Oil recycling/waste prevention; Solvent reuse/waste prevention; Nonhazardous waste (scrap metal, used oil, used solvents); consumption (boxes, pallets, shrink wrap, paper, nylon tape); Recycling/waste prevention (plastics, wood, cardboard) Nonhazardous waste (wood, plastics, nylon tape); Chemical use/consumption (water-treatment chemicals); Energy use/consumption (boilers, heating coils, building hearing, cooling, and lighting); Nonhazardous waste (rinsed containers, metal scrap); etc.

These aspects are prioritized as significant by ranking them, by weighting environmental aspects; or by requesting opinions from experts.

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Contact: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org