EMS - Environmental Management System
During my time at the paper company, in which I started my LCA track, I also began my environmental audit court. After the LCA work had started, I was moved over from material development to the environmental team, and my dedicated environmental manager wanted us to start with environmental audits as well. This was the mid-90s as the ISO14001 standard was not ready yet but a different standard, EMAS, had appeared in its primary form, so we used it. A little mad it might seem, for there was really no system in place to audit. We simply just went out to factories in Europe and revised them. Sometimes we were welcomed in a good way and they tried to fix it what we pointed out, in other cases it was more difficult. We had no certificate to "lean on".
In this way, we visited factories in Sweden, England, France, Germany, Holland, Greece and Slovakia. The language question was tricky, but it all was in its start-up phase so I thought it went good "under the circumstances". I had a break from this a couple of years, and I did not go back to revisions until I started working at Bureau Veritas for the first time in 2002. When you work with this professionally one must today be a combined auditor because most businesses have integrated management systems. This meant I had to learn also quality (ISO9001) in the first place. It may seem boring to an environmentally interested, but it turned out that the quality itself is about good order, efficiency, etc., which in turn often helps the environment. In addition, the focus is within ISO9001 organization and work processes which is also important for an environmental program. So it was really interesting to do these multipurpose audits.
The concept of management systems that follows the PDCA principle, plan - do - check - act, is now available in a variety of kinds. I have in addition to the above, also revised safety management systems (OHSAS) and energy (ISO50001). The audit technique is the same as for environment and quality but it has a different focus and you look at some different things. Today I have seen lots of management, they work great, but I miss in most cases a good connection to the manufactured products and especially product development. There is now a guide ISO14006 to remedy this, but so far I have not seen much result of its use. I took, as mentioned in the EPD, the task of formulating the standard text for the EPD process certification. I built this on the principles that already exist for management system, but with the content you have in LCA and EPD. I hope it will be used, it would increase the amount of EPD in the market which I think would be good.