PLAIN ENGLISH ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
The term Continual improvement refers to an
ongoing process of performance enhancement.
In the context of this environmental
means that you need to enhance your organizationís
overall environmental performance
its environmental management
system and by improving
its ability to manage the environmental aspects of its
activities, products, and services.
Continual improvements can be achieved by
out internal audits, performing management reviews,
analyzing data, and implementing corrective
and preventive actions.
Corrective actions are steps that are taken to
remove the causes
of an existing
Corrective actions address actual problems.
the corrective action process can
of as a problem solving process.
When information is placed on a medium it becomes
a document. In this context, the term
refers to paper. But it can also
refer to electronic,
magnetic, or optical disks. A set of documents
is often referred to as documentation.
The term environment refers to an organizationís
and human surroundings. An organizationís
extends from within the organization itself to the global
system, and includes air, water, land, flora, fauna,
as well as human beings.
If an activity, product, or service interacts with
it has an
But what exactly is an
aspect is a feature or characteristic
of an activity, product, or
service that affects or can
affect the environment.
In order to identify your
you need to study how your
products, and services affect the
each type of activity, product,
or service you need
to list your unique environmental aspects. However,
you donít have to worry about every
aspect. You only have to work on
have or could have a significant
you do not have to
work on all significant aspects, only those
that you can actually influence
An environmental impact is a change to the
Such change can be positive or negative. Environmental
impacts are caused by environmental
environmental aspects can have a direct
impact on the
environment or contribute only partially
to a larger environmental change.
An organizationís environmental management system
(EMS) is one part of a larger management system. The
EMS part of this larger management system is used to
establish an environmental policy and to manage the
environmental aspects of an organizationís activities,
products, and services.
is a network of interrelated
elements. Elements include responsibilities, authorities,
relationships, functions, processes,
practices, and resources. A
uses these elements to establish
objectives and to develop ways of applying these
policies and achieving these objectives.
An environmental objective is a specific
goal. Your organizationís environmental objectives
must be consistent with its environmental policy.
performance is all
of its activities,
products, and services
the impact they
have on the environment.
Your organizationís environmental
can be improved by reducing its negative environmental
impact or increasing its positive environmental impact.
to be able to determine how well environmental
aspects are being managed, environmental performance
should be measurable.
can measure your overall
management achievements against
environmental policy, objectives, targets,
other suitable environmental
policy statement expresses
a commitment to the implementation and maintenance
of an organizationís environmental management
system and the improvement of its overall
environmental policy should also emphasize
the need to prevent pollution and to comply with
all relevant legal and other
general, an environmental policy should
used to generate environmental
and targets, and should act as a general
framework for action.
An environmental target is a detailed
requirement. Environmental targets are derived from
environmental objectives and are used to achieve
these objectives. Targets can apply to specific
areas or to the organization as a whole.
party is a person or group that has
a stake in the environmental performance of an
organization. Interested parties may be directly
affected by the organization or actively concerned
with its environmental performance.
In the context of this standard, an internal audit
is a systematic evidence gathering
that is carried out in order to evaluate
an environmental management system meets
a set of audit criteria
established by your
Internal audits must be
independent, objective, and impartial.
According to section 4.5.5 of this standard, your
internal audits should determine
environmental management system
with the ISO 14001 standard and other planned
addition, section 4.5.5 expects you to determine
whether your environmental management system
is properly implemented and maintained.
A management system is a network of interrelated
elements. Elements include responsibilities, authorities,
relationships, activities, functions, processes, practices,
procedures, and resources.
A management system uses these elements to establish
policies and objectives and to develop ways of applying
these policies and achieving these objectives.
Preventive actions are steps that are taken to
causes of potential nonconformitiesóones that haven't
yet occurred. In general, the preventive action process
can be thought of as a risk analysis process.
To prevent pollution means to avoid, reduce, or
the creation, emission, or discharge of contaminants or
waste materials. Pollution must be prevented in order
to reduce adverse environmental impacts.
Organizations use a wide variety of methods, techniques,
practices, processes, products, and services to prevent
pollution. These include the reduction or elimination of
pollution at the source; the
efficient use of resources,
materials, and energy; the reuse, recovery, reclamation,
and recycling of resources; the redesign of processes,
products, and services; and the substitution of one
type of energy source or substance for another
cleaner energy source or substance.
A procedure is a way of carrying out a process
activity. According to section 3.19, you do not have to
document your procedures unless ISO 14001 2004
explicitly says you must do so.
procedure describes and controls
a logically distinct process or activity,
inputs and outputs. Documented
procedures can be very general or very
or anywhere in between. While a general procedure
could take the form of a simple flow
a detailed procedure could be a one page
form or it could be several pages of text.
A detailed documented
procedure defines and
controls the work that should be done, and explains
how it should be done, who should
do it, and under
what circumstances. In addition, it often explains what
authority and what responsibility has been allocated,
which supplies and materials should be used,
and which documents and records must be
used to carry out the work.
A record is a document that contains objective
which shows how well activities are being performed or
what kind of results are being achieved. It always
documents what has happened in the past.