Environmental management

Environmental management

Environmental Management is not, as the phrase could suggest, the management of the "environment" as such, but rather the management of interaction by the modern human societies with, and impact upon the environment. The three main issues that affect managers are those involving politics (networking), programs (projects), and resources (i.e. money, facilities, etc). The need for environmental management can be viewed from a variety of perspectives. A more common philosophy and impetus behind environmental management is the concept of carrying capacity. Simply put, carrying capacity refers to the maximum number of organisms a particular resource can sustain. The concept of carrying capacity, whilst understood by many cultures over history, has its roots in Malthusian theory. Environmental management is therefore not the conservation of the environment solely for the environment's sake, but rather the conservation of the environment for humankind's sake.Fact|date=January 2008 This element of sustainable exploitation, getting the most out of natural assets, is visible in the EU Water Framework Directive.

Environmental management involves the management of all components of the bio-physical environment, both living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic). This is due to the interconnected and network of relationships amongst all living species and their habitats. The environment also involves the relationships of the human environment, such as the social, cultural and economic environment with the bio-physical environment.

As with all management functions, effective management tools, standards and systems are required. An 'environmental management standard or system or protocol attempts to reduce environmental impact as measured by some objective criteria. The ISO 14001 standard is the most widely used standard for environmental risk management and is closely aligned to the European Eco Management & Audit Scheme (EMAS). As a common auditing standard, the ISO 19011 standard explains how to combine this with quality management. The UK has developed a phased standard (BS8555) that can help smaller companies move to ISO 14001 in six manageable steps.

Other environmental management systems tend to be based on this standard and to extend it in various ways:
*The Natural Step focuses on basic sustainability criteria and helps focus engineering on reducing use of materials or energy use that is unsustainable in the long term
*Natural Capitalism advises using accounting reform and a general biomimicry and industrial ecology approach to do the same thing
*US Environmental Protection Agency has many further terms and standards that it defines as appropriate to large-scale EMS.Fact|date=July 2007
*The UN and World Bank has encouraged adopting a "natural capital" measurement and management framework.Fact|date=July 2007
*The European Union [http://ec.europa.eu/environment/emas/index_en.htm Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)]

Other strategies exist that rely on making simple distinctions rather than building top-down management "systems" using performance audits and full cost accounting. For instance, Ecological Intelligent Design divides products into consumables, service products or durables and unsaleables - toxic products that no one should buy, or in many cases, do not realize they are buying. By eliminating the unsaleables from the comprehensive outcome of any purchase, better environmental management is achieved without "systems".

Recommended reading

* "Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy", ISSN 1618-954X, Springer
* "Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management", ISSN: 1535-3966 (electronic} 1535-3958 (paper), John Wiley & Sons
* "Environmental Practice", ISSN: 1466-0474 (electronic) 1466-0466 (paper), Cambridge University Press
* "Environmental Quality Management", ISSN: 1520-6483 (electronic) 1088-1913 (paper), John Wiley & Sons
* Journal of Environmental Economics and Management
* "Journal of Environmental Planning and Management", ISSN: 1360-0559 (electronic) 0964-0568 (paper), Routledge
* "Journal of Environmental Management", ISSN: 0301-4797, Elsevier
* Environmental Values

External links

business.gov provides businesses with environmental management tips, as well as tips for green business owners [http://business.gov/guides/environment/ here]

See also

* Actor analysis
* Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management
* Cleaner production
* Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
* Department of Environmental Management
* Environmental impact assessment
* Environmental management scheme
* Environmental Quality Management
* Environmental Risk Management Authority
* Environmental science
* Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM)
* ISO 14000
* ISO 19011
* ISO Guide 64
* List of environmental studies topics
* National Environmental Management Authority

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