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Management of Resources

Top management ensures adequate and effective management of our resources: land (natural resources), labor (human resources), and capital (financial resources).

Management ensures the availability and investment of resources that will establish, implement, maintain, and improve its environmental management system. These resources include not only human resources with specialized skills and competence-ensuring capabilities but also infrastructure, materials, financial resources, and technology.

Support is also required in implementing the environmental management system, which is done through operation control, EMS documentation, communication, and emergency preparedness. The use of information technology (IT) to manage real-time activities and the management of resources improves productivity and profitability.

When determining the resource needs, a CEO looks to the processes and activities required to meet strategic plans and strategies aligned with the objectives and performance targets. These targets may change, based on customer or corporate demands.

Activities ask for and compete for the resources at hand, and needs may change as work progresses. Transparency is crucial in managing business to peak performance. Criteria for investment of resources include sustainability considerations, including economic, social, and environmental, and the evaluation of investment risks.

An organization needs to focus on the “triple bottom line,” which I refer to as the three Ps: Performance, Productivity, and Profits (economic), which engage people (social) for the planet (environmental).

Roles need to be defined so that the organization is clear about its applicable responsibilities in order to facilitate effective environmental management. An organization has a responsibility to many groups, from its shareholders, protecting their investments; to their customers, ensuring the provision of products and services that offer value in terms of quality, price, safety, and environmental impact. It also has a responsibility to its employees, providing them with safe work environments and an opportunity for their involvement and commitment in initiatives, as well as rewarding them for their innovations and improvements.

To be successful you also need to develop mutually beneficial relationships and partnerships with others, such as contractors and value-chain suppliers, who support your principles and environmental requirements for life-cycle thinking (design and development, purchasing). Another key group that an organization has responsibilities to is to society, to conduct its business according to applicable laws and regulations and for its security, health and safety, and the environment.

In an environmental management system structure, top management appoints a specific management representative(s) who, irrespective of his or her responsibilities, will also ensure that an EMS is established, implemented, and maintained to the international standard and reports to top management on the performance and recommended improvements for the EMS. Therefore, it is imperative to keep the management representative(s) fully informed on matters affecting conditions of the management system structure and include him or her in decisions affecting the management system itself.

Identify performance expectations tied to the organization's goals and objectives. Work to ensure that personnel can fully develop and utilize their capabilities, providing recognition of performance for improving performance, productivity, and profitability.

For most personnel, new efficiency initiatives mean “change” and more work, and in some cases the change brings about a feeling of uncertainty. Top management can help personnel be accountable through performance management, by creating a work environment that promotes communication, participation, innovation, feedback, and cooperation through engagement, and by empowering personnel to participate in decisions affecting the organization's effectiveness and efficiency by being involved from the start of the initiatives and seeing them through to their achievement. A strong change management process is critical.

Being able to interface with the organization's planning, budgeting, finance, and resource management requirements by keeping abreast of current technology can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the management system. Many software programs exist today that help management make fast-paced business decisions that can positively affect the growth of its company, while monitoring the performance requirements set out by the organization.

Identifying responsibilities is the first step tied to human resource management, and then the organization shall ensure that people performing tasks for it that have the potential of causing a significant environmental impact are competent on the basis of education, training, or experience. Associated records need to be retained that provide the due diligence.

Persons working for an organization or on its behalf (contractors) need to understand the importance of conformity with the company's policy and procedures. It is important for the individuals to understand the environmental aspects and impacts associated with their work and the requirements for emergency preparedness. Today with many of the workers coming from many different countries, the challenge is to have documents for training in a form (pictures) that they will understand.

While doing an audit on a company that had over 500 employees, I had reviewed excellent production documents that had been written in English and were posted on boards close to the relevant work area; however, when I spoke to the individuals about their tasks on the floor, I found that these people could not read the information, as they did not read English.

In another audit I was involved with, a gentleman was responsible for the handling and disposal of chemicals for the company. He could not read English and was not aware of the environment, health, and safety information on the labels or its material safety data sheets; therefore the person did not understand the hazards and proper disposal guidelines tied to hazardous chemicals.

With new technology in training we have the opportunity to have videos developed economically that provide information about how to accomplish tasks. The old trend of long-written procedures is being replaced by visuals, outlining step-by-step tasks to complete. A company needs to ensure the competencies of those responsible for areas that can have an impact on not only the environment but also the health and safety of those involved.

Key resources besides our human resources are our natural resources. Many organizations have looked at the design of their products or services and evaluated the materials they are utilizing. In the beginning of the section on environmental principles I outlined what Unilever's CEO, Mr. Polman, and Nestle's chairman, Mr. Brabeck-Letmathe, have been working on with the prime minister in the UK to end the use of biofuels made from food crops.

Is there something in your industry that you can challenge to make a change that would benefit the use and consumption of our natural resources?


Focus: Environment – Prevention of Pollution

1 What financial commitments have been made to the area of environmental improvements?

2 How are resource management allocations tracked and monitored?

3 Has top management allocated the resources needed to meet its environmental obligations? Is it sufficient?

4 Do the products or services you provide impact the environment?

a. Are products you provide efficient in consumption of energy, water, and materials?

b. Can products be reused, recycled, and disposed of safely?

5 What resources do you require for your product development and do any of these impact the environment?

a. Can you change to another material?

b. Who are your suppliers for the materials? Do you have backup suppliers?

c. Is logistics improved with sourcing a new material?

6 Is there something in your industry that you can challenge to make a change that would benefit the use and consumption of our natural resources? What is it?

7 Does your organization have a vice president who is accountable for reporting progress on environmental matters to the board?

8 Who is the environmental management system (EMS) representative or coordinator?

a. Is the person a senior manager with sufficient authority, competence, and resources?

b. Is the appointed person knowledgeable and responsible?

c. Has he or she reported to top management on the performance of the EMS? When was the last report by the EMS representative to top management? Were there areas of improvement that came out of the review?

d. Does the representative ensure that workers and contractors are aware of the environmental issues and update them on legal requirements or changes tied to the environmental program?

e. Does the EMS representative work using a team approach with top management to relay information so that department unit managers are responsible for their own areas?

9 How do you ensure that personnel are competent in the areas in which they work?

10 What areas have been identified for improving environmental issues in the area of training?

11 What type of documented procedures do you have in place for environmental management? Do they include pictures?

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