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Environmental Management Systems
In March 2000, the CCMS published the Final Report (#240) on Environmental Management Systems in the Military Sector (EMS). This report was the culmination of 4 years of work by 27 countries with a common interest in considering the feasibility of implementing EMS within their military sectors. The report concluded that EMS, modelled on the ISO 14001 standard, could be a viable and valuable tool in addressing environmental issues in the military sector. Participating nations to the foregoing Pilot Study unanimously agreed that a series of follow-up workshop-style meetings designed to help nations address the practical challenges of implementing EMS, would provide an impetus for integrating EMS into the management framework.
A first workshop was held in Switzerland in 2001. The participation of 25 countries underscored the sustained interest of EMS practitioners in a forum to identify problems in the application of the standard (theory) to their daily activities and to draw solutions from the experiences of their colleagues.
A second workshop, held in Czech Republic in 2002 concluded that:
The third workshop was held in Sonthofen, Germany, in September 2004 on the subject of ''Partnering for solutions to EMS implementation challenges". The conceptual idea of this workshop was to provide a forum for exchange of information and “Lessons Learned” from the planning and/or the implementation of an EMS. Four topics were examined:
….. the part of an organisation's overall management system that includes organisational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources for developing, implementing, achieving, reviewing and maintaining the environmental policy and enables an organisation to continuously improve its environmental performance….(ISO 14001 definition of EMS)
By integrating environmental issues in day-to-day operations practices, the environment will come to be considered as a factor in planning that is as important as other factors such as terrain, personnel, materiel and finance. The Environmental Management System is an important management tool for achieving that integration.
EMS and the Military Sector
Defence organisations use a wide variety of material (planes, ships, armoured and other vehicles) and real estate, and often they own and use land. All these assets are necessary for preparing to carry out the tasks of the Defence organisation that are usually laid down in a country’s constitution: protecting the interests of a country or state and promoting the international rule of law.
As with every large organisation, the operating processes of a Defence organisation have adverse effects on the environment. Raw materials are used, exhaust fumes are expelled, noise is caused, etc. To manage these effects on the environment, environmental management systems are used.
The internationally recognised ISO 14001 standard has been developed to help organisations build a tool called an Environmental Management System (EMS) for managing the impact of their activities on the environment. An Environmental Management System can be divided into the four elements of the Deming Cycle - Plan, Do, Check and Act.