Seventh International Environmental Management Leadership Symposium
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Seventh International Environmental Management Leadership Symposium. Environmental Sustainability and EHS Professional Responsibility by John Morelli and Kelley Lockwood. Powerpoint Templates. a notion of sustainability. not so useful professionals need to take a whack! ecologists

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Powerpoint templates

Seventh International Environmental Management Leadership Symposium

Environmental Sustainability and EHS Professional Responsibility

by John Morelli and Kelley Lockwood

Powerpoint Templates


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a notion of sustainability

  • not so useful

  • professionals need to take a whack!

    • ecologists

    • conservation biologists

    • economists

    • farmers

  • in searching for this meaning, perhaps we can discover our own


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wherewebegin

  • “environmental goals” of the organization

  • operational goals of the environmental manager

  • professional goal of the environmental manager

  • professional goal of the environmental manager

  • ecological balance??? (Butler 2009)


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on environmentalsustainability

  • “environmental” almost always connected with human impacts on natural systems

  • “ecological” = interdependence w/in system

  • “environmental sustainability” connects human activities with ecological interdependence

  • = subset of ecological sustainability

  • consistent with Butler’s concept of “ecological balance”


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the survey

  • ISO 26000: 2010 social responsibility standard

    • 2010 survey of 7,400 professionals

      • 16 departments/functional units

      • 526 respondents

    • asked, “who is responsible for SR?”

    • premise: your organization has decided to become moresustainable and socially responsible.

      • you are asked to review 44 action items and indicate:

      • “what role should you play?”

      • “who else should have a role?”


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the survey(cont’d.)

  • 44 questions

    • derived from 220 action items in ISO 26000

      • in seven core subject areas:

        • organizational governance

        • human rights

        • labor practices

        • the environment

        • fair operating practices

        • consumer issues

        • community involvement & development


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the survey(cont’d.)

  • “what role should you play?”

    • choices

      • principal in charge

      • major responsibility

      • supporting role or responsibility

      • minimal role or responsibility

      • No role or responsibility


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the survey(cont’d.)

“who else should have a role?”

  • choices

  • legal

  • environmental

  • health and safety

  • purchasing

  • operations/Production

  • facilities

  • marketing

  • communication/Public Relations

  • human Resources

  • risk Management

  • other


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findings

  • top tier responsibilities of ehs managers

    • as indicated by ehs managers

      • health and safety at work (90.5%)

      • prevention of pollution"(89.3%)

      • sustainable resource use (74%)

    • as perceived by other professions

      • strong agreement regarding health and safety

      • less strongly regarding pollution prevention

      • climate change and mitigation = #1, #2 & #3


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findings(cont’d.)

  • prevention of pollution

    • Action Item: Implement measures to minimize waste, prevent pollution and properly manage that which is unavoidable.

      • Responsibilities with Environmental Professionals within EHS function & supported by H&S Professionals

      • Operations professionals indicated they would hold major or supporting responsibility


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findings(cont’d.)

  • prevention of pollution (cont’d.)

    • Action Item: Ensure the organization measures, records, reports and publically discloses the amounts and types of toxic and hazardous materials used and released, and make known the associated risks to human health and the environment.

      • EHS Professionals hold monitoring and reporting equally important as implementation.


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findings(cont’d.)

  • sustainable resource use

    • Action Item: Implement programs and practices for sustainable material, energy and environmental resources to reduce the environmental burden resulting from the organizations’ activities, products and services.

      • many functional units indicate this as an area of principal or supporting responsibility


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findings(cont’d.)

  • health and safety at work

  • Action Item: Apply principles of health and safety management and provide health and safety protection for all workers.

    • interest chiefly among the H&S Professionals within the EHS functional area

    • strong commitment by Risk Managers and Human Resources professionals toward taking principal or major responsibility

    • operations/production also perceived to have role


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findings(cont’d.)

  • health and safety at work

  • Action Item: Analyze, control and communicate the health and safety risks involved in the organizations’ activities and ensure that all workers follow safe practices and procedures.

    • Parallel to the priorities associated with the prevention of pollution action items

      • analysis and communication of risks are important!


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findings(cont’d.)

  • top three action items perceived by Other Professions as the responsibilities of EHS Professionals all in "Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption" subcategory.

  • these involved:

    • protecting natural habitat during land development projects,

    • minimizing impacts on ecosystems, and

    • internalizing environmental burdens such as those imposed by carbon emissions.


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findings(cont’d.)

climate change identified:

  • within the top ten by Environmental Professionals,

  • two of the three in the top ten by EHS Professionals,

  • one ranked this high among H&S Professionals.

  • a fourth climate change-related action item involving selecting environmentally and socially responsible suppliers and contractors was ranked 10th by Environmental Professionals and not among the top ten for the other two groups.


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discussion

while most might recognize sustainability to be a direction in which we must head, few have voluntarily stepped forward to claim it as an area of principal or major responsibility within their profession.


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discussion

  • neither surprising that Other Professions expect a considerable amount of responsibility for environmental sustainability to fall on the shoulders of EHS professionals,

  • nor that EHS professionals have not automatically moved all non-traditional, environmental sustainability-related activities to the top of their list of professional responsibilities.


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discussion

as with any new recognized need or mandated responsibility, "sustainability" or perhaps more usefully, "environmental sustainability," will need a shakeout period both to better understand and define the concept and to distribute the associated responsibility


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conclusions

  • this work demonstrated:

  • that "prevention of pollution" and "health and safety at work" are of paramount importance toEHS professionals and

  • that the measurement, analysis and communication of associated risks are held in almost equal regard.

  • “sustainable resource use” is also clearly shown to be an important concern for EHS professionals and for many other functional areas across the organization.


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conclusions

  • increasing societal expectations regarding social responsibility and environmental sustainability will drive many professions to define and delineate their own roles in this venture.

  • hopefully for environmental professionals, this will translate to a more coherent understanding of the most meaningful goals of their profession.


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