The path to environmental sustainability is a marathon not a sprint, but even the first steps can yield early rewards. Employing the same concepts used in implementing an Environmental Management System
can help ensure that your facility is always looking for and preparing to take advantage of opportunities that will improve your operations. These measures will lead not only toward environmental sustainability, but also economic sustainability as your organization becomes more adaptable to change and better able to respond to price increases or limitations in the availability of resources required for the operation of your facility.
- Create a Green Team that includes employees from different departments and levels within your organization.
- Create an environmental policy statement with high-level management support in order to communicate priorities to both your employees and customers.
- Ensure compliance with all environmental laws and regulations - an important starting point before embarking on further-reaching environmental goals.
- Brainstorm a list of all the environmental impacts of your facility, activities, products, and services. Consider the actual and potential impacts of both your regulated and unregulated activities. Don't forget to take a good look at your utility bills and waste streams.
- Prioritize these impacts based on their significance (e.g. severity and frequency of impact to air, water, land, natural resources, humans, flora and fauna).
- Choose one or more of these environmental impacts to address. Define the project, goals, timelines, and responsibilities.
- Implement the changes.
- Measure and share results.
- Repeat! Maintain your momentum by setting new annual goals.
Implementing these steps on an annual cycle keeps your facility on a path of continual improvement and ensures that any new environmental impacts are not overlooked. Organizations that revisit their environmental impacts and possible solutions on a regular basis are better able to take advantage of new developments that present cost-effective and technologically feasible solutions.