System Approach to Corporate Sustainability: A General Management Framework Essay Example
A production process involves a flow of materials as well as energy and plays important role in the economy. A production process is at times viewed as a source of environmental degradation and at times a sign of economic development. Development can be met without jeopardizing the environment or human health through sustainable development. System approach to corporate sustainability provides insights of how development can be conducted without degrading the environment. Some of the benefits of sustainable development include saving cost due to; cleaner production, health and safety; labor and innovative solutions, effective policies, market advantage, ethical investment and enhanced company reputation.
In order to achieve sustainability; a corporate sustainability management system will be of advantage. To ensure the success of this system, the CSMS should be incorporated in the vision and mission of an organization. The system should not be considered as an add-on option to meet external demands but rather an essential tool for managing an efficient economic environment. The CSMS has been designed to ease compatibility with; international standards of management like (ISO 2003); Total quality management (ISO-2000); and environmental management system (EMS- ISO 1996). There exist ranges of opportunities that stand to benefit from CSMS that include aspects of technical, legislative, environmental and social.
The CSMS has been proposed to have five stages that include policy development, planning, implementation, communication and review of the corrective action. These steps have further been broken down for further explanation. The sustainable development policy requires; demonstration of leadership and commitment to sustainability; establishing threats and opportunities; understanding stakeholder and sustainability issue. When identifying threats and opportunities, it is important to realize new and proposed legislations, industrial trends, and the technical development in place, competitive environment, and interest in the community, practices and standards.
One primary goal of planning is to establish a baseline, which determines the starting point of a sustainability goal. The baseline to be established includes economic baseline, environmental baseline, and social performance. When planning, an indicator of sustainability has to be identified, that will form a baseline for future monitoring and evaluation. SWOT analysis has to be developed to find out the strengths and weakness of an organization. The SWOT analysis will also help to identify the external threats and opportunities. Planning will also involve the setting of goals and objectives, development of action plans, identifying significant personnel and assignation of responsibilities. IN planning, it is also important that identification and allocation of resources be
Implementation stage includes identification of priorities and aligning the priorities to sustainability goal. Sensitive aspects such as a culture of an organization and organizational behavior of employees need to be altered. CSMS implementation recommends identification of specific projects that will ensure sustainability. Appropriate tools should be identified that will enable monitoring and evaluation. An organization will be required to collect data, conduct personnel training and development.
For the success of a CSMS, communication should be efficient at all departments of an organization. Both internal and external communication systems and networks should provide an effective flow of information. Communication also comprises of a sustainability report to incorporate vision, strategy, overview of organization’s structure and governance structure. Review and corrective action in CSMS are the final stages after implementation. The final stage reviews the performance levels of the actions and determining if the goals have been met. The review can be done on a quarterly basis, semi-annually or annually.
In Pursuit of Sustainable development, Environmental Pollution Prevention and Control Strategy
According to Khalid, there are three pillars of sustainability, which are the environment, human, and development goals. The environment component comprises biophysical systems such as water and biogeochemical cycles. The human system comprises of features like technology while developmental goals such as meeting basic needs. Human systems are complex and more diverse in the form of organizations, technologies and culture. The sustainable development framework aims at imposing control on the human systems since they are the agents of development. There are some variables in the human system that includes policy, politics, economy and culture. The sustainable development framework targets to balance demographic characteristics and the environmental component. The technological component has proven to portray dynamic characteristics.
The notes provide a methodology can be followed to achieve sustainability. The roadmap consists of seven steps and that are hierarchical. The first step to achieving sustainability is to develop eight sustainability goals. These goals act as the summit target that an organization should aim to achieve. Goals should provide a clue of what is needed that is associated with sustainability. After development of the sustainability goals, the next task is to identify ways through which these goals can be met. One important way of developing means of achieving sustainability goals is developing policies. Policies are very important as they provide a framework on the various means, resources and timeline for achieving a goal. Policies vary from internal policies and external policies. A corporate sustainability policy is one example of an internal policy. Internal policies set timeline for goals to be achieved as well as regulations to be adhered to.
Characterization of operations is another important step on the sustainability roadmap. In characterization, an organization should recognize that a production process has inputs and outputs. Inputs include energy, technology, culture and the various operations within an organization. On the other hand, wastes are generated in three major forms that are gaseous, solid or effluents. Characterization helps to map the rate of efficiency within an organization by comparing the inputs and corresponding outputs. Characterization also makes it easy for data to be collected on various department or operational sections within an organization. The data collection should be conducted in a systematic way. The duration and frequency of data collection matters a lot. More frequency of data collection provides analysts with enough skeletons to develop meaningful information. The credibility of data also plays a major role in determining the usefulness of the information generated after analysis and assessment of impacts. Later, the information will pave way for development of an environmental management strategy. A good management strategy should include solutions, means of implementation, evaluation and options for modification.
Developing a business for an EMS pending implementation requires one to come up with an eight-phase plan. The eight phases include need assessment, the establishment of business opportunity, work planning, developing alternatives, project definition, reporting development, report review, and presentation. The proposal should be able to expose the advantages regarding increased benefits and reduced the cost. An EMS system strategic roadmap was developed from the methods used in the development of ISO 1400. The role of the EMS is to provide procedures, techniques, and tools to be used in managing a number of environmental issues, such as pollution associated with anthropogenic activities. EMS requires continuous processes of planning and implementation of the guidelines provided by the ISO 1400.
Azapagic, A. «System Approach to Corporate Sustainability: A general management Framework.» Institution of Chemical Engineer Vol 81 part B (2003): 303-316.
Khalili, Nasrin. «In Pursuit of Sustainable Development, Environmental Pollution PPrevention and Control Strategies.» n.d.
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