EMS Primer - Principles
The major principles of an EMS follow a “Plan-Do-Check-Act” (PDCA) management model. This model and the ongoing process of continual improvement are illustrated in the graphic below.
The five EMS principles are:
- Environmental Policy
This principle requires top management to develop a formal written statement that outlines the organization's commitment to the environment, environmental compliance, pollution prevention, and continual improvement of the EMS.
The purpose of environmental planning is to develop a roadmap of actions necessary to meet the objectives stated in the policy developed by top management. These principles involve identifying how operations and practices impact the environment, setting goals and targets to reduce these impacts, tracking legal and other environmental requirements, and developing a written environmental management plan that addresses how the stated environmental objectives and targets of the organization will be met.
- Implementation and Operation
The principle of implementation and operation is essentially the process of executing the roadmap or plan developed under the planning component. This principle involves such tasks as defining roles, responsibilities, and authorities for establishing the EMS requirements and ensuring that they are implemented and maintained, providing required the financial and other resources that are necessary to implement the EMS, and addressing training, communication, documentation, and emergency preparedness requirements.
- Checking and Corrective Action
This principle establishes ways the facility is going to monitor, identify, and correct environmental problems.
- Management Review
The fifth principle requires senior leadership to periodically review the management system and make recommendations for continual improvement.