1.1 Environmental Management Systems and ISO 14001
An environmental management system (EMS) can be thought of as the application of general management principles to the environmental issues associated with an organization's activities, products, and services. It provides a framework within which an organization can systematically identify and manage those elements of its activities, products, and services which have the potential to impact the environment.
ISO Standard 14001 is an International Standard that describes the basic framework and requirements of an EMS.
Environmental management system - the part of the overall management system that includes organizational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources for developing, implementing, achieving, reviewing and maintaining the environmental policy (ISO 14001).
According to ISO 14001, an EMS is founded on organizational commitment, especially that of top management, and includes the following five major elements:
a) environmental policy;
c) implementation and operation;
d) checking and corrective action; and
e) management review.
ISO 14001 specifies criteria that can be used to model, assess, or audit an organization's EMS. Other standards have been, and are being, developed to lend further guidance on environmental management and support EMS development and implementation. These Standards include ISO 14004, ISO 14010, ISO 14011, ISO 14012, ISO 14024, ISO/FDIS 14031, and ISO 14040.
Note: It is not mandatory to become registered to ISO 14001. It is a voluntary standard that an organization can use as a framework for EMS development. In addition, an organization can seek registration of its ISO 14001 EMS through an internationally recognized independent body.
1.2 Benefits of an EMS
1.2.1 Direct Benefits
The potential benefits that may accrue to an airport as a result of developing an EMS that conforms to ISO 14001 include:
a) improved overall environmental performance;
b) reduced frequency and severity of environmental incidents and noncompliance with regulatory requirements;
c) improved response to incidents, which may prevent or mitigate their impacts;
d) assistance in demonstrating due diligence, in some jurisdictions, in the event of prosecution or litigation;
e) assistance in meeting stakeholder requirements and/or expectations;
f) reduced environmental costs (through conservation of resources and improved waste management);
g) improved relations with government agencies and non- government organizations;
h) reduced environmental risk as assessed by insurance and lending institutions;
i) increased employee involvement, morale, and productivity;
j) improved public relations; and
k) improved internal consistency in undertaking activities with environmental implications.
1.2.2 Registration Benefits
Airports that become registered to ISO 14001 may obtain additional benefits, including:
a) independent, third-party verification of the EMS;
b) international recognition of the EMS; and
c) in some cases, satisfaction of specific stakeholder requirements.