The Challenges Faced By Environmental Management Systems Business Essay

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This research is about the Environmental Management System (ISO 14001) and does the packaging companies adopted (ISO 14001) because as we know packaging industry is one of the industry that generate massive amount of waste. Thus this waste must be managed carefully to reduce the impact to the environment. Further investigation will be carry out into the role that the packaging companies played towards the current environmental issues. Basically an Environmental Management System is a management system that can helps an organization to manage its environmental impacts and also a way which can minimize such impacts effectively in the long run. The packaging industry is an industry that responsible to enclosing or protecting certain products for distribution, longer duration of storage and also for marketing purposes to attract consumers.

The environmental issue has been always the world agenda since early of 1992 when a group of international organisations for examples the United Nations Conference in Environmental and Development, World Health Organization and also the Non- Governmental Organization setting standards to maintain sustainable environment. The term sustainable environment was used by the well known Brundtland Commission which is now widely been quoted as development that "meets the needs of present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".

The Environmental Management System (ISO 14001) is one of the standards in the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) family tree and the British Standard BS 7750 was the first standard to be created at that time. According to Krut and Gleckman (1998):

"This international association of national standard- setting bodies was set up to facilitate international commerce by standardizing technical specifications. It works closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). In many areas, from ATM cards to telecommunication bandwidths to plumping supplies, business and the public experience significant advantages from ISO and IEC activity". (Kurt and Gleckman, 1998, pp.2).

Although the issues of environmental being a great debate from different group of people especially the environmentalist but there is still lack of awareness among the public itself. This is also due to the lack of commitment from the local government to convey this important message to the public. This topic was chosen because the researcher took the subject of Environmental Issues in Business before and found that in order to sustain in a business first we have to understand well about what is the 'Sustainable Environment' and how does it affect a business in the long run.

Research Aims & Objectives

The aim of this research is to examine the Environmental Management System (ISO 14001) practices in packaging companies located in North East of England. This followed by 3 objectives to fit with the aim above and there are: to identify the reasons of the adoption of the Environmental Management System, to identify the problems companies faced when getting certified to ISO 14001, and lastly to examine the company's performance before and after adopting the Environmental Management System.

Literature Review

In this section will discuss about the previous research has been done to this topic and also demonstrate to the reader how well does the researcher knows about this particular topic of Environmental Management System (ISO 14001). Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2007, p.57) commented that "reviewing the literature critically will provide the foundation on which your research is built and also the main purpose is to help the researcher to develop a good understanding and insight into relevant previous research and the trend that have emerged".

There are plenty of books, journals and articles discussing about the environmental issues, how does the industrial sector can minimize their waste by adopting the Environmental Management System and also why businesses needs to play an important role towards the sustainability of the environment. No doubt all human being living in this world today does created much of their own waste (motor cars and the consumptions of CFCs in air conditioners or refrigerators) to the environment itself but the waste and pollutions created from the industrial sector are much more severe. According to Whitelaw (1997):

"If we look back to the to the Industrial Revolution, we might see this as the period when the inventiveness and innovation of human beings, and the resultant mechanization of manufacturing processes began to have negative impacts upon the environment. Prior to this period, any negative environmental impacts tended to be localized for example, forest were cut down without any future regard". (Whitelaw, 1997, pp. 2).

Another author does agree with the same argument above and stated that:

"Businesses are the core of the environmental debate and are central both to the pollution problem and to the solution...the activities of industry provide employment, and investments drive economic growth. However, in doing so, be it because of the resources that they consumer, the processes they apply or the products that they manufacture, business activities are a major contributor to environmental destruction". (Welford, 1994, pp. 3).

One of the solutions for businesses to minimize their wastage is to implement the Environmental Management System (EMS) and getting certification of ISO 14001. Jorgensen (2000) defined the EMS:

"An EMS is part of the enterprise's overall management system. It includes the organizational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources for implementing and maintaining environmental management. It includes those aspects of management that plan, develop, implement, achieve, review, maintain and improve the enterprise's environmental policy, objectives and targets". (Jorgensen, 2000, pp.75).

Implementing the EMS does not only helps businesses to reduce their wastage but also will improve the environmental performance and this can lead to a better corporate image of the businesses itself. According to Jorgensen (2000):

"EMS offers a structured and systematic method to incorporate environmental care in all aspects of business. The aim is not only to comply with environmental regulations and minimize the (financial) risks of liabilities and costs but to improve the environmental performance continuously and through this improve corporate image and gain competitive advantage". (Jorgensen, 2000, pp. 75).

There are many large organizations for example BT Group in UK which takes the environmental management very seriously into their business. According to BT Group:

"In 1990 the BT Board made a commitment to optimise environmental management across the company. Since then, we have made real strides towards our goal of world class environmental management. Climate change is higher than ever on the agenda for government and business. BT's response to this is a new plan which takes some ambitious steps to cut our emissions of carbon dioxide. Having already reduced our carbon footprint by 58% in the UK, we have now set a target to achieve an 80% reduction in our carbon intensity worldwide by 2020. BT consumes 0.7% of the UK's entire electricity, so we think we can make an important difference. We have pledged to reduce the amount of carbon we emit as a business and help others to do the same. We are encouraging our suppliers, customers and employees to take action. We also believe that communications technology can be harnessed to help address climate change". (, no date).

Further discussion of the objectives and more detailed literature review will be covered in the later part of this research project.


Research Approach & Strategy

The research approach that will be use to apply in this topic is the Inductive Approach. Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2007, p. 118) commented that "the purpose (Inductive Approach) here would be to get a feel of what was going on, so as to understand better the nature of the problem". This approach is best to be combining with the qualitative data and is being suggested to use different kind of methods to collect the data in order to get different point of view. (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2007, p.119). Since the environmental issues can be categorized under the real life context, the Case Study Strategy is more suitable to use in this research as the case study strategy is based on a real life context investigation.

Types of information required

Information that is required for this research is to find out how the environmental issues affect the business sector especially the packaging companies in the north east of England (regulations that needs to be follow, government, investor and also the public pressure), did the business owners take any initiative to protect the environment, some useful data from the Environment Agency in UK, why those companies choose to adopt the EMS or get certified for ISO 14001 (corporate image, attract more investors and consumers, able to help the companies in certain way or just for the seek for adopting it) and lastly to compare the performance before and after adopting the EMS and also to create awareness to the companies that the importance of sustainable environment/business.

Data collection

The main data collection for this research project will be from conducting an interview with around 8 packaging companies that are located in the North East of England. The length of each interview will be approximately 15-25 minutes. Voice recording, video recording and notes taking will be acquire to form a transcript at the later part for this research. Semi- structured interviews is the type of interview to be use in this research as questions from interview can be omit or vary according to the background of the company and also the background of the interviewee.

Secondary Data

The secondary data collection is also one of the ways to collect data for the research project. Secondary data consists of 3 types and there are Documentary Secondary Data, Multiple Source- Secondary Data and the Survey Secondary Data. In order to meet the objectives in this research project, reports and database from the potential companies are very valuable and in addition the journals, articles, newspaper and also book's publication could also be sources for this research. Documentary Secondary Data and the Multiple Source- Secondary Data will be used in the research.

Methods/Strategy linked to project objectives