reduce liability or risk to the organization. They also support the general goals of a successful management system through proactive and cost-effective methods to improve operations to achieve better overall performance. There remains a need to bridge the information gap between the leadership and management system components of the organization and for EMSs to address potential problems, especially non-regulated public health needs. In addition, a better communication between firms and stakeholders is needed, concluded Matthews. Some meeting participants suggested that EMSs cannot be generalized and that we need to move forward toward a more sustainable approach to governing. We need to recognize that organizations need a wide range of incentives and disincentives, and they need to be given every possible tool to assist them toward their goals. A combination of approaches coupled with command and control regulation, insurance and supply chain incentives, and community pressure will lead to sustainable improvement after a few years, noted general discussion participants.

The Environmental Impact of Environmental Management Systems

Environmental performance is defined by the reduction of pollution or other kinds of resource uses, whether it is water or energy use, said Cary Coglianese of the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Although EMSs are initially implemented to maintain compliance with regulations, they often have implications for lowering environmental costs, training employees, and developing indicators for environmental impact. An effective EMS enables an organization’s officials and stakeholders to examine its values, priorities, policies, strategies, objectives, methods for allocating resources for delivering performance, and learning. Some research suggests that EMSs can manage risks, gain competitive advantages, and achieve environmental improvements at lower costs. During the workshop the speakers, Roundtable members, and participants considered how companies could use EMSs and other tools and policies to achieve greater impact beyond regulatory compliance. Coglianese suggests that required EMSs can and do make environmental improvements, but one must use caution in distinguishing how much comes from the system and how much comes from the commitment.

USING ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS TO IMPROVE PERFORMANCE IN THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY

Being a $450 billion-a-year enterprise, the chemical industry in the United States is a key element of the country’s economy and nation’s largest exporter, accounting for 10 cents out of every dollar in the U.S. exports, said Gregory Bond of Dow Chemical Company. The chemical industry is critical to a wide variety of markets essential to human needs, such as food, transportation, electronics, health and medicine, personal and home care, and building and construction. In



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement