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  • James Howey

Environmental Management: Compliance with Benefits

Environmental management is often something that is only considered at the last minute or sometimes, not at all. In our experience this can all too often lead to a compliance heartache or delays and budget blowouts. Having a systematic approach to identifying environmental regulatory requirements and efficiently undertaking them is the minimum expectation of most organisations. Of course this can be taken further to a full environmental management system (EMS) with the aim of minimising environmental impacts, which can be accredited to ISO 14001 demonstrating commitment to stakeholders.

Viridis has recently undertaken an environmental risk assessment for a client, who has decided to develop an EMS, but at this stage isn't seeking third-party certification. We mapped processes for their business units to inform the identification of environmental aspects and impacts. This identified that biggest risk was missing a regulatory requirement, which could lead to significant delays in gaining the correct permit or approval. But in the worst case could lead to rework of project and significant cost and time implications. Having a systematic process to identify these regulatory compliance issues up front minimises the impact of regulatory compliance on projects and ongoing operation of assets.

However, environmental management can also identify opportunities to enhance projects on a number of aspects, financial, social and ecological. Viridis recently helped Queensland Urban Utilities supply recycled water for the construction Brisbane Airport's second runway. The use of recycled water for use onsite has reduced demand on the potable water supply and reduced discharges of treated wastewater effluent to Moreton Bay. Identifying opportunities for expanding water recycling reduces the use of potable water and can delay or prevent costly upgrades to potable water schemes.

It is recommended that if an ISO 14001 EMS is desired that the organisation first implements ISO 9001. The ISO family of standards align and ISO 9001 sets the foundations for ISO 14001, as a number of the administrative requirements are the same. Conversely, if your organisation already has an ISO 9001 system then it is not a significant leap to set up ISO 14001.

Viridis Consultants was established to provide trustworthy environmental consulting services, it's in our DNA. The services we currently offer are:

  • EMS development - ISO 14001

  • EMS audits by a Exemplar Global Lead Auditor - ISO 14001

  • Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) Audits

  • Feasability and cost benefit analyses

  • Site based management plans

  • Waste management plans

  • Water and sewage treatment plant licensing and compliance

  • Environmental risk assessments and evaluations

  • Construction environmental management plans (CEMP)

We'd be happy to help with any environmental compliance or management issues you have, feel free to give us a call, even if it's only to talk through an issue.

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