You are advised to spend about 20 minutes on the questions based on this reading passage.
Developing environmental management strategies
Strong and sustainable economic activity depends on healthy environmental management. It is being increasingly recognized by the public, government and industry that there is a need to shift smoothly form a ‘react and cure’ approach to an ‘anticipate and prevent’ approach. The mechanism governing this change started to appear three to four years ago and the momentum for change has been gathering ever since.
Whilst the need to embrace these changes is almost universally accepted, the mechanisms for change and the priorities for action have been far from clear. The public and the media point to anecdotal evidence of lack of progress or setbacks, over a bewildering range of topics. These incidents are catalogued by local and national pressure groups to enhance their own campaigns for change. The Government, under pressure from the European Community, has introduced legislation which, although progressive, often appears to industry to be fragmented and difficult to digest.
There is, therefore, a clear and often expressed need on the part of British and European management for techniques to identify and prioritise the key environmental issues for allocation of resources and action. The technique emerging as the most effective is a strategy which involves the formulation of a policy statement setting out the organisation’s philosophy on the environment and the aims to be achieved. A detailed assessment of the environmental status and performance of the operation is then undertaken, key issues identified and targets set. The performance of the operation or unit is regularly audited to measure progress towards the targets set. This environmental strategy is often called and Environmental Management System or simply referred to as an Environmental Audit.
The need for environmental strategies
Over the past few years, the incentives for introducing such an Environmental Risk Management Strategy have changed as public attitude has evolved, insurance markets have hardened and national legislation has been enacted. Environmental Risk Management Strategies may therefore be implemented for reasons of insurance, market forces, acquisitions, national legislation or Environmental Accreditation Schemes.
The basic elements of the Environmental Strategies currently being proposed by most authorities are as follows:
An Environmental Strategy is a documented plan, comprising the drawing up of an Environmental Policy and an Initial Environmental Assessment, which provides prioritized recommendations for action and targets to be achieved. This is followed by regular audits to measure progress towards the targets.
An Environmental Policy is a statement of the overall aims and principles of action of an organization with respect to the environment. It may be expressed in general terms, but it may also include quantitative targets.
Initial environmental assessment
An Initial Environmental Assessment is a comprehensive assessment of the environmental impact as a result of an organisation’s activities. It leads to a report to top management in which the key issues are identified and priorities for action allocated. This Initial Environmental Assessment is referred to in the Draft British Standards as an Environmental Effects Inventory and in the Draft Eco-Audit scheme as an Environ-mental Review. The topics covered in Initial Assessments may include a review of management systems, a historical review of the site, assessment emissions and impact on air, water and land as well as control and monitoring of emissions. Noise, odours, recycling, disposal and duty of care will usually come into the assessment, as will raw materials management, savings, transportation, storage, water conservation, energy management and products planning. Other important aspects of the assessment are the prevention and mitigation of accidents, unexpected and foreseen pollution and of course staff information, the relationship with the public and the need for Environmental Audits.
An Environmental Audit is systematic, documented, periodic and an objective evaluation of how well the organisation’s systems are performing, assessed against internal procedures and compliance with internal policies and statutory requirements.
Both the Draft British Standards and Draft Eco-Audit scheme stipulate that the audits should be carried out by personnel independent of the plant or process being audited.
Under the UK Environmental Protection Act the details declared in the application for Authorisation to Operate are included in a Register which is open to the public. Such legislation also exists in many of the other European Community countries.
The Eco-Audit scheme also proposes that organisations which are accredited under the scheme should regularly publish an environmental statement containing factual information and data on the environmental performance of each site.
Read these statements and say how they reflect the information in the reading passage.
Complete this summary.
Answer this question and finally, match the items given with the appropriate definitions.