Environmental management systems (EMSs) are tools that can be used to steer and controlan organisation’s environmental efforts. This chapter focuses on standardisedEMSs, those that deal with fulfilling the requirements of the international standard ISO14001 (ISO 1996) and/or the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) (EC 2001).These standardised EMSs have been applied for about a decade; the number of organisationsthat are certified in accordance with them worldwide is steadily rising and nowhas reached over 100,000 (ISO World 2007).Early EMS work focused on issues relating to implementation. Often, positive environmentaleffects were taken for granted. More recently, however, questions addressingthe effects of standardised EMSs have become more popular in the research literature.The extent and types of effects of a standardised system are critical issues from anenvironmental perspective. The information presented within this chapter will helpuncover and capture some of the nuances of the connection between EMSs and environmentalperformance. Important lessons learned as a result of this study include arelative lack of understanding of EMSs even after more than a decade of practical application.Additional insights include the extent to which EMSs are useful tools in achievingbetter organisational environmental conditions and identification of the importantfactors influencing the effectiveness and efficiency of such systems. While the focus ofthis chapter is on the use of standardised EMSs to reduce environmental impacts, themethods used in this study build on the author’s findings from several earlier studies—a meta-analytic perspective—and are summarised where appropriate. Some key strategicEMS issues addressed here include:
● Environmental aspects, their identification, formulation and assessment
● The scope of EMSs, including their relationship with product development
● Environmental policy, targets and objectives
● External environmental auditing
● Continual improvement in environmental performance
● EMSs and the supply chain
Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing Ltd, 2007. 242-257 p.