Determining the Scope of the Environmental Management System

Determining the scope of an Environmental Management System (EMS) is a fundamental step.

Determining the scope of an Environmental Management System (EMS) is a fundamental step in implementing an effective framework for managing environmental aspects within an organization.

Here are the key steps to determine the scope of an EMS:

1. Define Organizational Boundaries:
Identify and define the organizational boundaries, including all facilities, departments, and activities that will be covered by the EMS.

2. Identify Environmental Aspects:
Identify and assess the environmental aspects associated with the organization’s operations. Consider factors such as air emissions, water discharges, waste generation, energy consumption, and use of raw materials.

3. Understand Legal and Regulatory Requirements:
Identify and understand the applicable environmental laws, regulations, and standards that the organization must comply with.
Ensure that the EMS scope aligns with these legal and regulatory requirements.

4. Consider the Full Life Cycle:
Consider the entire life cycle of products or services, from design and development to end-of-life disposal, to ensure a comprehensive view of environmental impacts.

5. Include Relevant Processes:
Identify and include processes that are relevant to environmental management, such as pollution prevention, waste management, and resource conservation.

6. Consider External Factors:
Take into account external factors such as suppliers, contractors, and other stakeholders that may impact environmental performance.

7. Document the Scope Statement:
Clearly document the scope of the EMS in a scope statement. This statement should be concise, yet comprehensive, and easily understood by all relevant stakeholders.

8. Review and Approval:
Review the scope statement with key stakeholders, including top management, to ensure alignment with organizational goals and legal requirements.
Obtain approval from relevant stakeholders to finalize the EMS scope.

9. Communicate the Scope:
Communicate the established EMS scope to all relevant parties within the organization. This includes employees, suppliers, contractors, and other stakeholders.

10. Periodic Review and Update:
Periodically review and, if necessary, update the EMS scope to ensure it remains relevant and aligned with organizational changes, legal requirements, and evolving environmental aspects.

11. Ensure Consistency:
Ensure that the defined scope is consistent with the organization’s overall objectives, policies, and commitment to environmental sustainability.

By following these steps, an organization can establish a clear and well-defined scope for its Environmental Management System, helping to effectively manage environmental aspects and improve overall environmental performance.