Ensuring environmental performance by means of environmental management systems.

AuthorIonel-Alin, Ienciu

    The control of environmental aspects within an entity differs depending on the size of the entity and the complexity of environmental issues (IAPS, 1998). Therefore, entities with a low level of exposure to environmental risk or small and medium companies monitor and control their environmental problems by means of internal control system, while companies operating in high environmental risk sectors monitor and control their environmental issues by using internal control systems specific to environmental aspects, the so-called environmental management systems.

    The implementation and development of environmental management systems represent and answer given by managers from various sectors to the Report of the Brundtland Commission, Our joint future (World Commission on Environmental Development, 1987). An efficient control of pollution cannot be based exclusively on technological solutions, but must be founded on an environmental management system integrated to the entity's general management. These systems represent a structural and systematic mean to integrate environmental aspects from all aspects of an entity's activities (Rojanschi et al., 2004). These systems are found normally within large entities having sufficient resources for implementation and maintenance, nevertheless it is possible to have environmental management systems in small and medium companies as well, but most of them will confront a lack of resources (Biondi et al., 2000).


    The main objective of the study is represented by the description of environmental management systems in order to evidence their role in improving environmental performance. The descriptive analysis and the comparative study of various standards, books and relevant articles are the main research methods used to define and describe environmental management systems.

    In order to reflect how environmental management systems determine environmental performance, we have used statistical correlation and the empirical study, considering as variables the environmental performance on one side, represented by the Environmental Performance Index (Pilot 2006 Environmental Performance Index), and the environmental management systems represented by the number of certified systems.


    To begin with, we will define an environmental management system by presenting the various approaches that specialized literature has considered taken in time. An environmental management system is an approach, an instrument, a set of procedures, a planned and organized way to achieve targets, a system that is planned and implemented by an entity in order to manage the interaction and connections to the environment (Cheremisinoff and Bendavid-Val, 2001: 4). Such a system is constructed around the activities performed by the entity, focused on the manufacturing process and integrated in the entity's general management system.

    On the basis of the 16 principles enunciated by the International Chamber of Commerce, Rojanschi defines the environmental management systems as follows: "component of general management system including the organizational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources for elaborating, implementing, performing, revising and maintaining the environmental policy" (Rojanschi et al., 2004: 401). According to this definition, a management system has the following main objectives: Identification and control of environmental impacts and risks, achievement of environmental policy objectives and requirements, definition of a set of principles at the basis of the environmental responsibility, increase of environmental performance, determination of resources necessary for achievement of objectives, definition of responsibilities, authority and procedures for managing the negative environmental impact, the performance of an efficient communication system and training of personnel on environmental aspects.

    Jiang and Bansal (2003: 1048) define the...

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