Chapter 11: Resources
Provided by the International Finance Corporation
The resource base and organizational structure of SMEs can impose certain limitations on completing an EMS. In order to manage these constraints, SMEs should seek outside assistance to reduce costs and enhance performance, and wherever possible, consider cooperative strategies.
- Large Companies, Clients or Suppliers Acting as Mentors. Large companies with active environmental policies can be good sources of help in developing meaningful approaches to good environmental management. It may also be in the interest of SMEs to strengthen ties with major customers and suppliers.
- Other SMEs. Promote worker groups within SMEs to guarantee collaboration to generate ideas for reducing environmental impact, defining and addressing common issues, sharing know-how and experiences, preparing technical and training material, using facilities jointly and collectively engaging consultants. Industry associations can be a link between the company and other firms interested in sharing their experience and expertise in EMS implementation.
- Expert and Local Technical Assistance. Consultants can be helpful and save time. However, if a company decides to hire consultants, it should limit consulting costs. For example, a company may be able to join forces with other small businesses in the area to hire a consultant jointly. For more information on consultants, see Considerations in Hiring Consultants in this chapter.
- Extra Assistance. Make effective use of interns or temporary employees to perform potentially time-consuming EMS development tasks such as collection data, drafting and typing procedures. This approach allows in-house personnel to focus on more complex EMS development tasks.
Considerations in Hiring Consultants
- Assess the company's own in-house resources first.
- Ensure that the work objective is clear and understood by both staff and consultants.
- Before hiring a consultant, obtain and check their references. Engage consultants with experience with small businesses and in the company's specific industry.
- Use consultants to obtain insights on method.
- Consultants should work with company staff, since an EMS developed by isolated consultants without staff input is not likely to work.
- Multinational Companies have strong in-house Environmental Management Systems (EMSs) that enable them to conduct supplier audits and also provide EMS training programs to suppliers.
- Environmental Regulatory Agencies can provide assistance in developing the EMS. Ask state and national agencies about education and outreach programs for businesses developing an EMS. Publications, brochures and on-line help related to environmental issues and laws may also be available. In addition, most environmental regulatory organizations maintain good web sites.
- Associations provide industry-specific environmental management issues.
- Customers and Suppliers are valuable sources of information and expertise. These companies can provide advice and share experience and expertise in EMS implementation.
- The Internet contains a wealth of information related to EMS implementation available electronically via the Internet. There are many web sites about specific environmental topics, such as water management, hazardous material and waste management. These sites are resources for locating technical assistance, learning about regulations, finding consulting firms, elaborating training materials and gathering information on industry-specific environmental management issues, products and equipment.
Support Material for implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS) can often be found at the following locations:
- Governmental and non-governmental organizations
- Universities and other research centers which support production and innovation
- Industrial associations
- Web sites and data bases
- Organizations and institutions related to environmental issues
- Consultant firms (professional assistance)
- Other small and medium-sized enterprises
- Public libraries
- Large companies which have already implemented an EMS or are already certified by ISO 14001, EMAS, or BS 7750.
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