6.2 Environmental Objectives and Planning to Achieve them [ISO 14001]

6.2.1 Environmental Objectives

An effectively implemented environmental management system aligns the policies with strategic and management system objectives and provides the framework upon which to translate these objectives into functional targets.

Environmental objectives can apply to an entire organization, can be site-specific, or can be specific to individual activities. The appropriate level(s) of management personnel should define the environmental objectives and targets.

In some cases, the personnel who set objectives may not be the same as those who set targets. Remember that the environmental objectives are the overall goals as reflected in the principles established in the environmental policy.

Contents

Scope and Number of the Environmental Objectives

The scope and number of the environmental objectives and targets must be realistic and achievable, otherwise, the success and continued commitment from Top management and employees will diminish.

Wind turbine Environmental Aspects

Factors to Consider

Consider the factors below, as you begin to formulate your environmental objectives:

  • 1. Legal and compliance requirements
  • 2. Significant aspects (aspects directly related to significant impacts)
  • 3. Significant safety hazards
  • 4. Financial, operational, and business requirements
  • 5. Views of interested parties

Targets & Environmental Performance Indicators

Targets must be quantified where practicable. The units that are used to quantify the targets are referred to as performance indicators and are defined as an expression that is used to provide information about management system performance.

The following are some examples of environmental performance indicators:

  • The quantity of raw material or energy used
  • The amount waste produced
  • The number of incidents/accidents
  • The percentage of waste recycled
  • Investment in environmental protection

Environmental indicators are defined as a measurable representation of the status of operations, management or conditions, as such, each environmental objective will need one or more associated performance indicators.

Examples of Environmental Objectives

Examples of objectives and commitments that support the protection of the environment may include:

  • Sustainable resource use
  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Protection of biodiversity and ecosystem
  • Addressing other relevant environmental issues

example continual improvement procedure

Example Objective

The following is an example of an objective with a specific of a target and an environmental performance indicator:

1. Objective: reduce energy required in manufacturing processes

2. Target: achieve 15 % reduction of energy usage by 2022

3. Indicator: quantity of electricity per production unit (kilowatt/unit)

Organizations need to set their environmental objectives for relevant functions, levels and processes within its operations. It is for the organization itself to decide which functions, levels and processes are relevant.

Documented Information

Documented information of environmental objectives typically is in the form of a description or matrix of the objective and corresponding means and timeframe to achieve the objectives.

Planning actions

6.2.2 Planning Actions to Achieve Environmental Objectives

The organization must undertake planning in order to determine how its environmental objectives will be achieved. This planning includes:

  • Determining the work required in order for the organization to realize its environmental objectives
  • The resources necessary to undertake this work
  • Whom will be responsible for ensuring that the work is done
  • When the work needs to be completed by.

Management Improvement Programme

Organizations are required to establish and maintain one or more management improvement programmes for achieving their environmental objectives.

The management improvement programme is a key element to the success of the EMS.

Properly designed and implemented, management programmes should achieve the environmental objectives and, consequently, improve your organization’s performance.

The management programme must:

  • Address each environmental objective and target
  • Designate the personnel responsible for achieving targets at each relevant function/level of the organization
  • Provide an action plan describing how each target will be achieved
  • Establish a time-frame or a schedule for achieving each target

Who should be Involved?

Setting environmental objectives and targets should involve people from the relevant functional area(s). These people are well positioned to help establish, plan for, and achieve these targets. The involvement of people helps to build commitment and demonstrates positive leadership.

Action Plan

Action Plan

Establishing an action plan for each environmental objective may require considerable effort on the part of the personnel at relevant levels within your organization. To ensure the progress of the action plan and a coordinated effort, a target leader should be selected for each environmental target.

The target leader should be accountable and responsible for ensuring an environmental target is achieved within the specified time-frame.

Once the action plan is established, you must implement it. You may find that the following suggestions will help foster a cooperative effort in accomplishing the plan:

  • Involve your employees early in establishing and carrying out the action plans
  • Communicate the expectations and responsibilities laid out in the action plans to those who need to know
  • Build on the plans and programmes you have now for EMS compliance
  • Keep it simple
  • Focus on the continual improvement of management programmes over time

Evidence of Planning

Look for evidence that effective planning is taking place to support the achievement of the organization’s environmental objectives.

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Updated: 25th October 2021
Author: Richard Keen

Richard Keen

Richard Keen

Richard is our Compliance Director, responsible for content & product development.
But most importantly he is ISO's biggest fanboy and a true evangelist of the standards.
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