Developing an Environmental Management System (EMS) Approach for Agriculture and Agribusiness
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Developing an Environmental Management System (EMS) Approach for Agriculture and Agribusiness – EMS Basics. December 18, 2000 Beth Graves EMS Project Coor. NC Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance. August 28, 2000

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Developing an Environmental Management System (EMS) Approach for Agriculture and Agribusiness – EMS Basics

December 18, 2000 Beth GravesEMS Project Coor.

NC Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance

August 28, 2000

The Progressive FarmerBy necessity and inclination, U.S. farmers are early adapters. Here's a look at the latest in high-tech down on the farm.


The News & Observer

What is an EMS?

  • Systematic way of managing an organization’s environmental affairs

  • Based on Plan-Do-Check-Act Model (PDCA)

  • Focused on Continual Improvement of System

  • Addresses immediate and long-term impact of an organization’s products, services and processes on the environment.

  • A tool to improve environmental performance

EMS Model – Plan, Do, Check, Act







Corrective Action

Why Implement an EMS?

  • Helps to identify the causes of environmental problems.

    • better to make a product right the first time

    • cheaper to prevent a spill

    • cost effective to prevent pollution

  • Trade and competitive issues

    • marketing tool

Why Implement an EMS?

  • Struggling to stay in compliance and keep track of regulations/laws

  • Environmental management just one of many responsibilities

  • Employee turnover

  • Establish a framework to move beyond compliance

  • Vehicle for positive change; improved employee morale, enhanced public image

  • Much of an EMS may already be in place

Build on What’s There

  • Animal Waste Management Plans

  • Best Management Practices (BMPs)

  • On Farm Assessment Program (available to pork producers)

  • EMS Templates being developed

    • Beef, poultry, dairy

  • New programs – ex. United Egg Producers Project XL agreement

ISO 14001 Model – Required Elements

Becoming ISO 14001 certified

  • ISO 14001 is the only certification standard

  • Registration body examines EMS for conformity to the ISO 14001 standard

  • Not a compliance audit, an EMS audit

  • Facility awarded registration

  • Does NOT mean that products are more environmentally friendly

  • Does mean have a documented EMS that is fully implemented and consistently followed

Key EMS Elements/Framework

  • Policy Statement

  • Identification of Significant Environmental Impacts

  • Development of Objectives and Targets

  • Implementation Plan to Meet Obj. and Targets

  • Training

  • Management


    How you meet elements is up to you.

Aspect and Impacts

  • An organization evaluates and addresses its own significant aspects, including non-regulated aspects

  • May be positive or negative

  • Examples:

    • Aspect – Pesticide Container Recycling

    • Impact -- Conservation of natural resources

    • Aspect – Engine operations

    • Impact – Degradation of air quality

Aspects and Impacts

  • Consider:

    • Air emissions

    • Solid/hazardous waste

    • Contamination of land

    • Noise, vibration and odor

    • Water effluents

    • Land use, energy use, water use

    • Raw material and resource use

    • Positive environmental issues

Marine Corps ISO 14001 Pilot Project

Nuisance Impacts

Fuel Consumption - Use of a Nonrenewable Resource

Training within a Natural Environment (Plant, Wildlife, Wetlands)

Training within species habitat

Resource Impacts

Particulate Matter from Operating Vehicles Off-road

Air Emissions from equipment and vehicles

Outdoor burning - PM

Air Impacts

Disposal of Spill Residue

Disposal of Solid Waste

Disposal of Hazardous Waste

Waste Impacts

Soil disturbance leading to Erosion and Sedimentation

Accidental Spillage - Vehicle /Helicopter/Equipment fluids

Gray water

Soil Impacts

Accidental Spillage - Vehicle/Helicopter/Equipment fluids

Gray water

Groundwater Impacts

Soil disturbance leading to Erosion and Sedimentation

Accidental Spillage - Vehicle/Helicopter/Equipment fluids

Gray water

Surface Water Impacts

Environmental Aspects


Input (raw material and labor)


Lead Responsibility - Fish and Wildlife Division, Compliance Division, and Planning Division

Significance Scoring --Prioritize

  • From Environmental Concerns such as:

    • regulatory/legal exposure

    • health risk/people

    • resource conservation

  • To Business Concerns such as:

    • effect on the public image/community

    • cost savings

    • cost recovery period

    • equipment/facility

Significance Scoring (cont.)

  • Also may consider issues such as:

    • scale of impact

    • duration of impact

    • zone of impact

    • probability of occurrence or likelihood - frequent, likely, possible, rarely, unlikely

    • severity of impact - catastrophic, severe, moderate, minor

Legal Environmental Requirements

  • Setting legal framework for the EMS

    • identify and access legal requirements

      (federal, state, local)

    • keep up-to-date

    • communicate to the

      right people

Objectives &Targets- Continual Improvement

  • Establish and maintain environmental objectives and targets.

  • Can include commitment to:

    • reduce waste

    • reduce or eliminate release/spill of a pollutant

    • design product/operations to minimize environmental impact in production, use, and disposal.

Objectives &Targets

  • Keep objectives simple, flexible, and measurable.

  • Be realistic.

  • Considerations:

    • legal and other requirements

    • significant env. aspects

    • technological options

    • financial requirements

    • operational requirements

    • business requirements

    • views of interested parties


  • Policy : Improve the environmental quality of the workplace

  • Objective: Improve indoor air quality by reducing solvent odors

  • Target : Reduce solvent odors (VOC levels) by 90% by mid 2001.

  • Set Environmental Mgmt. Program

Env. Mgmt. Program

  • Plan: Switch to water cleaning process

  • Action- Substitute water-based cleaning process for vapor degreasing process

  • Responsibilities - Process Engineering

  • Schedule - Bench top trials - 2 months (date)Full scale pilot - 3 months (date)Implementation period - 1 month (date)

  • Resources needed - 1 FTE for 4 mon. Est. Budget $12,000


  • Structure/responsibility

  • Training, awareness, & competence

  • Communication (internal/external)

  • Env. Mgmt System Documentation and control where needed

  • Operational control (ex. maintenance)

  • Emergency preparedness

    and response

Monitoring and Measuring –How are you doing?

  • Establish procedures to monitor and measure key operations that can have a significant impact on the environment.

  • Track how well the system

    is working

  • Analyze root causes of problems

EMS Internal Auditing

  • Are you meeting your EMS requirements?

  • How will you run an EMS audit program?

Management Review

  • Collect information to evaluate EMS

  • Review EMS to ensure its continuing effectiveness

  • Consider changes – continual improvement

For More Information

  • DPPEA offers free on-site EMS

    assistance and training

  • DPPEA EMS web site

  • Beth Graves

    EMS Project Coor.

    800-763-0136 or 919-715-6506

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