Environmental management (EM) is a topic that blends policy, science, and socio-economic applications. The natural environment is a result of millions of years of mutation and evolution. It is protecting various ecosystems and life forms. We depend upon the environment to meet our necessities. Such as food, fiber, fuel, minerals, fodder, and essential support systems (e.g., air and water).
However, because of our continued exploitation of nature for instant gains, we are responsible for environmental degradation. The reduction of natural resources should stop immediately. So we must understand the function and interaction of biological and physical elements of the environment. We can apply this information for a good environmental management program to conserve natural resources. Sustainable management of renewable resources in education, industry, recreation, agriculture, health, fisheries, forestry, or urban development is critical. The conservation of resources and maintenance of the quality of ecosystems need as much innovative and imaginative technology. Active participation of the public is also important.
Environmental management thus includes managing the environment by ensuring the wise use of natural resources without reducing their quality and productivity. Because of the impacts of modern human civilization the environment is depreciating in life-sustaining abilities at an ever-increasing pace. Authorities should regulate this. So it is essential to know the function and interaction of biological and physical elements of the environment. We should also develop environmental management programs to conserve natural resources. Environmental management mainly finds out the solution to real-world problems. This problem is faced by people in cohabitation with nature, waste production, and resource exploitation.
Definition and scope Environment Management
Environmental management represents the management of various actions. It including environmental action plan, resource conservation, Evaluation of environmental status, and environmental administration and legislation. Environmental management focuses more on monitoring, implementation, auditing, and practice and practical issues than on theoretical planning.
Six Different people describe environmental management differently, depending on the background in which they work. For this Course, let us consider the following two views
- The procedure of allocating natural and non-natural resources to make optimum use of the environment in satisfying primary human necessities in the minimum, and more if possible, in a sustainable way (Jolly, 1978).
- A general description of a procedure undertaken by system-oriented professionals with the natural science and social science, or less commonly, engineering, law, or design related, tackling problems of the human-altered environment in an interdisciplinary way from a quantifiable and/or futuristic perspective (Dorney, 1989).
Having touched upon the definition and characteristics of Environmental management, we will discuss some of the crucial issues relating to Environmental management such as its need as a result of drastic population growth, sustainable development, and environmental management tools.
Therefore, We can link environmental management with issues about sustainable growth of the economy. It also ensures equitable and fair distribution of resources and safeguarding natural resources for upcoming generations. Environmental management is a reply to human activities. It considers the growing significance and consequence of human impact on natural ecosystems. People have given more importance to economic growth than the conservation of natural ecosystems. Therefore in various cases, positive intervention is too important to recover the environment.
Any commercial or developmental activity has a considerable impact on the environment.
- The manufacturing of products comprises take out raw materials from the environment and dealing out them to produce profitable items. After the production process, different kinds of waste (solid, liquid, and gaseous) enter the environment.
- The events surrounding the production process, have various environmental impacts. Such as maintenance of infrastructure along with packaging and transport of products.
- Moreover, the goods after production will finally dispose of and enter the environment as waste.
- The provision of many services also results in a substantial environmental impact. Service companies use many products and energy to give their services. Both of these result in producing waste that enters the environment.
People use the environment as a ‘source’ of raw material collection for industrial processes. After that, they use it as a ‘sink’ for waste disposal. Though all the organizations produce waste material all organizations do not extract their raw material from the environment. Only those organizations do it which remain at the starting point of the supply chain. Then they manage the raw material in various ways so that it can move along the supply chain. The environment becomes degraded and unbalanced by over-extracting the raw material from the environment. It also becomes degraded by overloading the earth with waste material. Environmental management aims to search the ways of running all business activities by reducing or stopping this degradation. After doing these activities we can enjoy a good environment and ensure that we preserve it for our future generations.
WHY WE SHOULD TAKE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT?
There are various business advantages to take environmental management. The main message of this learning material is that Environmental Management will create a good business sense. It will also improve our business performance if we can improve our environmental performance. There are many advantages to take environmental management and these include:
- Cost savings in business
- Confirming legislative compliance
- Predicting future legislation
- Meeting the supply chain requirements
- Reduced environmental risk
- Improved relations with regulatory authorities
- Improved public image and community relation
- Increased market opportunities
- Employee enthusiasm
Now we will discuss each of these benefits:
1. COST SAVINGS IN BUSINESS
Most people wish to protect the environment. Although many business people fear that protecting the environment by improving their environmental performance would cost money. They fear that there will be a clash between their desire to save the environment and their desire to cut down costs and run a good business. The good news is that many business people have understood that improving environmental performance truly reduces costs. Many companies have seen that it is possible to save a large amount of money, by improving their environmental performance. We can save cost in a company or a firm by changing in various areas such as:
- product design
- process efficiency
- sourcing of raw materials
- waste disposal
- packaging and transport
Now we will discuss the different ways of cost savings stated above:
It might be possible to redesign a new product to reduce the volume of resources it contains by maintaining the level of service it delivers.
Improving the productivity of existing procedures:
Optimizing the performance of present processes minimizes the usage of raw material and energy and waste production. Reduced use of raw material and energy and reduced production of waste are all good for the environment. The reduced raw material cost and the waste disposal cost are good for the sake of business. Appropriate maintenance of equipment is essential as it minimizes cost.
Introducing more effective processes
Environmental management supports sustainable development. Introducing fresh and more effective processes also reduces resource usage and waste production. Various companies have been able to create big cost savings by reducing the volume of raw material, energy, and water.
SOURCING OF RAW MATERIALS
Environmental management demands an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approach. Changing the source of raw material used in an individual process can result in cost savings. Companies can make big savings by using recycled wool instead of virgin wool to manufacturing their products. Paper mills use recycled paper instead of virgin pulp which can save a substantial amount of trees.
As stated above, improving the process efficiency will reduce the quantity of waste from a production process. When a company has produced, it is often possible to reuse the waste or pass it to other companies which can use it. This can avoid the waste disposal cost.
It is similarly possible to find a way of savings by making changes in the efficiency of the infrastructure. For example, set up energy-efficient lighting, insulation of buildings, improving the effectiveness of heating systems, etc.
PACKAGING AND TRANSPORT
After the production of desired products, they need to put them into a package and transport them to the destination area. It is sometimes possible to make cost savings in those areas at the same time by improving environmental performance.
2. CONFIRMING LEGISLATIVE COMPLIANCE
By ensuring that it complies with related environmental legislation, a company or a firm can avoid the possibility of being penalized by the regulatory authorities for non-compliance and the bad media publicity and public criticism & outrage that can accompany such fines.
3. PREDICTING FUTURE LEGISLATION
Environmental management has to integrate different development perspectives. Developing an awareness of the number of changes in environmental legislation allows the companies to plan for these changes and make proper investment decisions. If a company or any organization is not aware of the proposed legislation it may make investments that are useless when new legislation will come. On the other hand, a company may find out about legislative changes at the last minute. This will force them to take quick investments to comply with its requirements. Prior knowledge of probable changes allows a long-time period over which to create the essential investment and avoid possible cash flow problems.
4. MEETING THE SUPPLY CHAIN REQUIREMENTS
A huge number of large organizations are requiring their suppliers to show good environmental management. They also take preparation to cut their list those fail to ensure so. In few cases, authorities never consider an environmental policy as sufficient proof of good environmental management. A company should have evidence that they are taking some actions to meet the commitment set out in their policies. Therefore taking effective environmental management will gradually be necessary to maintain a supplier status with big organizations.
5. REDUCED ENVIRONMENTAL RISK
Environmental management is an integration of science, social science, planning, and policy-making. Environmental risk is a hidden risk for various companies. By taking environmental risk assessment considering the part of environmental management procedure, it is possible to reduce the real risk of the events that could have various adverse environmental effects. Insurance companies, banks, and all investors base most of the decisions on a risk assessment. So the environmental risk should reduce by all the parties to keep a company in a good position. It also helps to gain loans and necessary insurance cover and to attract investment.
6. IMPROVED RELATIONS WITH REGULATORY AUTHORITIES
The capability to demonstrate good environmental management may lead to the environmental regulators taking a more “hands-off” attitude to regulation. For example, regulatory authorities can reduce the number of inspections in a factory visit required per time.
7. IMPROVED PUBLIC IMAGE AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS
By spreading the efforts for improving environmental performance, companies can easily improve their public image. This will help them to enhance their position in the marketplace. By showing good environmental management, companies can ensure the local community about their activities and build up a good community relationship.
8. INCREASED MARKET OPPORTUNITIES
Fewer production costs for good environmental management and better public image for doing good environmental performance can allow a company to increase their sales and get a bigger market share.
9. EMPLOYEE ENTHUSIASM
Environmental management deals with a world affected by human beings. There are many people concerned about the environment. By taking environmental management program company can generate a lot of enthusiasm among employees. Because it allows employees to show their environmental concern in a useful way by contributing to improving environmental performance.
However, the role of an environmental manager is to interface with ecology, economics, politics, law, etc. while developing an Environmental management action plan. Key elements of the Environmental management action plan include environmental policy, audit, Environmental management systems, and external standards. Moreover, planning activities have long-term effects on the environment as they should manage at all levels: regional, national and international. This denotes that an environmental manager should think globally and act locally and adopt a long-term holistic outlook.
The goals of Environmental management is integrating ecology, policy-making, planning, and social development include: preventing and resolving environmental problems; establishing limits; establishing and nurturing institutions that effectively support environmental research, monitoring and management; identifying threats and opportunities; sustaining and, if possible, improving existing resources; improving the quality of life; Identifying environmentally sound technologies or policies. Therefore, Environmental management demands scoping, i.e., deciding goals and setting limits on efforts.