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ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM IN SMALL AND MEDIUM SCALE COMPANIES IN NIGERIA

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ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM IN SMALL AND MEDIUM SCALE COMPANIES IN NIGERIA

 

ABSTRACT

Environmental Management System refers to management of an organization’s environmental programs in a comprehensive, systematic, planned and documented manner. It includes the organizational structure, planning and resources for developing, implementing and maintaining policy for environmental protection. It is not surprising that collectively, SMEs also have major  The increasing demands for consideration of the environmental impacts may result in SMEs being required to at least consider environmental management systems implementation based on standards such as the ISO 14001 series, developed by the International Organization for Standardization. In this situation, an EMS may be considered both a cost and a benefit to the organization. The aim and objective of this project work is to study the Environmental Management Systems in small and medium scale companies using Lagos as a case study. Five small and medium scale companies namely: Ulysses, Regency Overseas, Onward Paper mill, Techno Oil Ltd and VGC Water were used for this project research. Questionnaires were administered to the management staff and employees below the management level of the selected companies and the two selected regulators-SON and LASEPA. The findings obtained from the survey carried out on the companies indicated that these companies were not yet Environmental Management System (ISO14001) certified. This study therefore recommends that Environmental Management Systems should be implemented in SMEs because the integration of EMSs into a company process of activities will help to support environmental sustainability and also help the companies to reduce their resource consumption of water, electricity, heat energy and discharge of waste. This research work is made up of five chapters. Chapter One dealt with the introduction to the subject matter; Chapter Two examined the conceptual ad theoretical framework to the study; Chapter Three stated the methodology used in carrying out the research work; Chapter Four covered the discussion of findings and results obtained from the survey. Lastly and Chapter Five concluded on the whole research work and recommendations were drawn from the results obtained from the survey findings. 

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Environment, according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English means surrounding. This definition fails to mention the extent of the surrounding is made up of. The environment, in fact, includes everything living and non living: air, water, land animals and plants among others. The environment also involves the ways living and non-living objects interact as well as what result from such interactions. Birds, for example, interact with rocks either by perching on them, or the building of nests in rock crevices. The environment and humanity are inseparable; this underscores the need for the conservation of the environment and sustainable development. From the above definition of ‘Environment’, one can see clearly that environment means much, much more than one’s compound or school premises or one’s village.

What does pollution means? Pollution is simply defined as the poisoning of the air, the land and the seas.

Now, degradation. The degradation of the environment means the wearing down of the environment by various processes such as the action of water, wind, ice or erosion.

By conservation of the environment we mean the preservation and protection of the environment against pollution and degradation.

In its report “Our Common Future”, the World Commission on Environment and Development, defined economic growth as necessary for sustainable development. But commission noted that growth alone is not enough, since high levels of productivity and widespread poverty do coexist and endanger the environment. Agenda 21 recognized that the private sector plays a major role in achieving sustainable development, both by fostering economic growth and by reducing environmental impact. The challenges for business and industries is to provide environmentally sustainable growth; they must devise strategies to maximize added value while minimizing resources and energy use. The need for clean, equitable economic growth remains the biggest single difficulty within the larger challenge of sustainable development.

Business in industrialized nations has begun to move from a pollution of limiting pollution and waste only in compliance with government regulations towards one of avoiding pollution and waste not just to be good corporate citizens but also to be more efficient and competitive. In response, the economies of the industrialized countries have grown even though the resources and energy to produce each unit of growth have declined.

Eco efficiency requires not only challenges in technology, but also in management; such issues as changes in the objectives and assumptions that direct corporate activities, and in the day-to-day practices used to reach those objectives. Managing for the environment is not a new idea but a systematic approach to it is now being developed.

The forthcoming ISO 14000 SERIES sets standards for corporate environmental management on an international level. These standards have been set not by some international regulatory body, but with the full participation of the private sector who will implement them. One of several advantages the standards will bring is the creation of a more environmentally sensitive industrial culture, which will result in a more efficient use of raw and waste material, reduction of emissions and increased investment in pollution control abatement and cleaner technologies.

1.2 THE NEED FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (EMS)

An environmental management system (EMS) is interpreted as the organizational structure, including practices, processes, resources and responsibilities for implementing environmental management. Such a system should enable organizations to achieve and demonstrate on-going compliance with regulations. It should allow organizations to control the environmental impact of all activities, products and services taking into account the environmental impact of all activities, products and services taking into account a self-determined environment. The need for Environmental Management System are:

a. Organisation and facilities are increasingly aware of the need to achieve and demonstrate sound environmental performance by controlling the different aspects and the significant impacts of their activities, products or services on the environment. They do so in the context of increasingly stringent legislation, the development of economic policies and other measures to foster environmental protection, and a growing of concern from interested parties about the threats of industrialization to sustainable development.

b. Many Organisations have undertaken environmental ‘’reviews’’ or ‘’audits’’ to assess their environmental performance. On their own, however, these ‘’reviews’’ or ‘’audits’’ may not be sufficient to provide an Organisation with the assurance that its performance not only meets, but will continue to meet its legal and policy requirements. To be effective, they need to be conducted within a structured management system and integrated with overall management activity.

c. The Environmental Performance of an Organisation is of increasing importance to internal and external interested parties. Achieving sound environmental performance requires  Organisational commitment to a systematic approach and to continual improvement of the environment.

d. An EMS provides order and consistency through the allocation of resources, assignment of responsibilities, and continuous evaluation of practices, procedures and processes. An EMS is therefore: part of the enterprises enterprise’s overall management system. It includes the organizational structure, planning activities, practices, procedures, processes, and resources for implementing and maintaining environmental management. It includes those aspects of management that plan, develop pment, implement, achieve, review. Maintain and improve the companies environmental policy, objectives and targets.

1.3 THE OBJECTIVES OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

The objective of installing an EMS by organizations is mainly to ensure continual improvement through the life of a facility or facilities in the management system of the organization. Specifically, an Environmental Management System is intended to help the organisation to:

a. Achieve its environmental policy, objectives and targets, including compliance with environmental legislation.

b. Identify and control the environmental aspect, impacts and risks relevant to the organization.

c. Define a basic set of principles that guide the organization to its environmental responsibilities in the future.

d. Establish short, medium and long –term goals for environmental performance, and ensuring costs and benefits analysis, for the organization and for its various shareholders and stakeholders.

e. Determine what resources are needed to achieve those goals, assign responsibilities for them and commit the necessary resources.

f. Define and document specific tasks responsibilities, authorities and procedures to ensure that every employee acts in the course of their his/her work to help minimize or eliminate the organisation’s negative impact on the environment.

g. Communicate the organisation’s environmental policies, objectives and targets and procedures to all employees and to third parties who may be affected by these policies.

h. Measure performance against pre-agreed standards and goals, and modify the approach as necessary.

1.4 THE CORE ELEMENTS OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

Environmental Management Systems will be different for different types of organizations, depending on the nature, size and complexity of activities, products and services. However, all Environmental Management Systems have a number of core elements in common. The core elements include but are not limited to the following:

-Environmental Policy

-Initial Environmental Review

-Environmental Action Plan

-Organisational Structure and Management Responsibilities

-Documentation and Communication

-Training

-Management Review

a. The environmental policy

i. Environmental policy expresses the commitment of senior management to appropriate environmental management. It should not be a once –and-for-all document. The aim of the policy shall be to maintain and potentially improve environmental performance. It is to form the basis upon which objectives and target are set. It should reflects the commitment of top management to comply with relevant environmental legislative and other requirements; and for continual improvement.

ii. Fundamentally, an environmental policy shall

·        Contain a broad statement of intent

·        Be appropriate to production activities and products and services.

·        Make provision for commitment to continual improvement.

·        Make clear the procedure of preventing pollution.

·        State commitment to comply with legislation, regulation and other regulatory requirements.

·        Provide frame work for setting and reviewing environmental targets and objectives.

·        Be documented, implemented and maintained.

·        Be made available to appropriate regulatory authority and any other interested party.

·        Be made public.

b. Initial Environmental Review (IER)

i. In order to achieve success, an early step in developing and improving an EMS involves obtaining commitment of the top management of an organization. An organization that has no EMS in place or that has not conducted an IER. The aim of such a review should be to identify all environmental aspects and/or impacts of its activities, products and services. Also, the aim of an initial review is to establish a facility’s current performance level in the Ems with the view to formulate an articulated environmental policy.

ii. To carry out a thorough review, a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the production processes or services from ‘’cradle- to-grave’’ is imperative. The LCA should examine the different aspects and possible significant impacts of all inputs at all stages of production or services to its eventual disposal.

iii. An IER shall consider normal operating conditions, shutdown and startup condition including realistic potential significant aspects and impacts that could be associated with reasonably foreseeable or emergency situations.

iv. The process of identifying significant environmental aspects shall where appropriate, consider any or all of the following.

·        Human health

·        Air and Water quality

·        Waste Management

·        Contamination of Land

·        Use of raw materials and natural resources.

v. Fundamentally, an IER shall address the following:

·        Identification of relevant legislation’s, regulations and other regulatory requirements.

·        Identification, evaluation and documentation of significant environmental aspects of its activities, products or services.

·        Evaluation of existing management practices and procedures.

·        All other elements of feedback from the investigations of previous incidents.

vi. The IER Report shall contain the following essential elements:-

·        Introduction/ context of review

·        Scope of review

·        Issues and objectives

·        Methodology

·        Information resources

·        Summary of findings

·        Identification of corrective action plan and the time-frame for its implementation

·        Resources requirement for implementation

·        Conclusion

vii. ER shall be carried out at least once annually except there is a certificate of exemption from FEPA.

viii. IER shall be carried out by one or all of the following persons or groups of persons.

·        A competent Environmental Monitoring Team

·        Competent and certified employee(s) in each of the production stages and/or services

·        Accredited FEPA consultants.

c. Environmental Action Plan

i. An environmental action plan shall translate the environmental policies into objectives and targets; and identities activities to achieve them, defines employees responsibilities and commit the necessary human and financial resources for implementation. The action plan should rely on or use the assembled overview of the environmental aspects and legal regulatory requirements. The objectives and targets of an action plan shoulb be:

·        Specific

·        Ambitious

·        Realistic and achievable

·        Time-bound

ii. The action plan shall address the following:

·        Objectives and targets

·        Identity activities to accomplish set objectives and targets

·        Identity and implement steps taken to achieve set objectives and targets

·        Define and delegates roles and responsibilities

·        Provide material and human resources

·        Identify relevant regulations, guidelines and other regulatory requirements relevant to operation.

dOrganisation Structures and Management Responsibilities

i. The organisational structure of a facilities shall contain the flow of authority, responsibilities and interrelationships of all those in the organization to effect the proper functioning of the EMS.

ii. The responsibilities of the organizational management shall include but not limited to:

·        Establishing and maintaining EMS with the commitment of the chief executive/managing director.

·        Providing all resources needed for the implementation of the EMS. This shall include human, financial, material, technology and specialized skills.

·        Appointing an Environmental Manager who should have at least a formal training in environmental management and technology. The Environmental Manager shall

-Ensure that EMS requirements are established, implemented and maintained in accordance with this National Guideline.

-Report back to management on the performance of the EMS for the purposes of review and for evaluation to ensure continual improvement.

·        Constituting an Environmental committee. The committee shall include all cadres of staff.

iii.  Also management shall integrate EMS into business operation by:

·        Establishing, documenting and maintaining a procedure for integrating the EMS into the day-to-day business operation of the organisation. This shall include provision for awareness training, internal communication, documentation, document control, risk assessment, emergency preparedness and response, planning and response to complaint from external and other interested parties.

The procedures shall incorporate environmental measures into protection of workers, purchasing, research and development, product development, marketing, finance etc.

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