Environmental Management Systems – A key to your social license to operate

Today, it is more important than ever to establish and implement a strong environmental management program regardless of the industry you are in.  Mining, and the development of mineral resources, is an important part of many economies throughout the world and contributes to the sustainable development of the communities in which we operate.  Mineral development, like many industries involved in the natural resource sector, impacts the environment and can leave both temporary and long-lasting impacts to the environment.  Regulatory laws and requirements have been put in place to protect the environment and the communities in which we operate.  Creating a strong environmental management system (EMS) goes beyond managing our legal requirements; it is our social obligation and one of the key elements in maintaining a social license to operate.  It’s about doing the “right thing” and protecting the places where we live, work, and play.

Before creating and implementing an EMS, develop a robust environmental policy statement.  What is it that you are trying to accomplish?  The environmental policy should state your goals and objectives; provide a commitment to prevent pollution; provide a commitment to comply with all laws, regulatory requirements, and other environmental obligations; and establish a commitment to continually strive for improvement.  The policy statement should reflect your values and provide a commitment by senior management to provide the necessary resources and support to implement the EMS.  A strong policy statement provides the foundation for a successful EMS.

In the upcoming blog postings, I will share my successes, as well as the lessons I’ve learned while implementing a successful EMS.  Managing environmental impacts and navigating the regulatory environment in which we operate can prove difficult challenging at times; however, a well-developed EMS can make the challenge manageable and rewarding.

As with all of my blogs, I welcome comments and feedback.  Please share your own experiences and triumphs. What lessons have you learned?

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