The relationship between EMS implementation and environmental performances improvement is subject to increasing interest by international researchers but results obtained so far are not univocal. A critical issue is that ISO 14001 does not require companies to reach minimum levels of environmental performances (apart from legal compliance) nor does it supply methods to be used to measure continual improvement. A questionnaire-based survey on a sample of companies in NW Italy was carried out with the aim of investigating which operational performance indicators (according to ISO 14031) are used in their EMS, whether EMS implementation has contributed to an increased commitment towards environmental performance and what the entity of the achieved improvements is. The sample was made up of companies belonging to the same industrial sector (automotive) and with a consolidated EMS (ISO 14001 certified for at least three years). Results highlight that various environmental aspects are monitored in the EMS by means of a rather large number of indicators, but the most detailed ones (relative indicators) mainly refer to aspects where performances improvement means cost reductions (waste management and use of resources). The EMS implementation increases the number of companies committed (mean increase: 108.7%), as well as the number of environmental aspects involved and determines higher investments towards environmental improvement. The quantification of the improvements achieved was only provided by a limited number of companies, but data show that EMS determined positive effects in the environmental performances, although with highly heterogeneous values, varying from +16.9% (use of resources) to +42.7% (releases to water). For future research activities we recommend tailoring the sample of certified companies, limiting its scope to companies with a consolidated EMS and, where possible, to EMAS registered companies, in order to deal with publicly available validated data trends. Finally, in order to improve EMS efficiency, we recommend that companies carry out a specific design phase, in accordance with ISO 14031, aimed at identifying a proper set of indicators to adequately assess and monitor their environmental performances.
|Titolo:||The use of indicators and the role of environmental management systems for environmental performances improvement: a survey on ISO 14001 certified companies in the automotive sector|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/j.jclepro.2011.08.022|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|
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