Results of Surveys to Evaluate the Cost and Benefits per Employee of Adopting An EMS

McHugh*, Laura; Smiddy, Niall
(ENVIRON International Corporation, UK Office, Bath England)

Surveys by the EPA of US and international companies that have adopted an ISO 14001 EMS indicate that the most significant external driver is regulatory pressures, which is a cost-avoidance paradigm. There is not widespread consensus on the benefits adopting EMS provides, nor do companies agree that the EMS registration process adds significant benefit to the company’s bottom line, except by larger organizations where adoption of an EMS is externally driven by the supply-chain process. Questions an organization faces when making a decision about whether or not to adopt an EMS include: · How much will it cost to develop, implement and maintain? · What are the benefits and how are these benefits measured? · Does it make sense from a business case perspective to adopt an EMS? Making a representative estimate of the costs of implementing an EMS is a complex process due to the number of variables that affect an organization’s environmental health and safety compliance costs and lack of consensus about the benefits. ENVIRON has analyzed the costs of implementing ISO14001 for several business sectors, including power generation, pharmaceuticals, aerospace and general engineering. To allow comparison between the different organizations surveyed and business sectors the costs have been normalized per employee. Costs have also be broken down into those associated with various phases of the EMS adoption process, including program design, development and implementation, as wells as the annual cost to maintain the EMS.

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