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Environmental Management Systems

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Internationally, companies, governments and consumers are increasingly interested in buying products and services from companies that are responsibly managing, and reducing, their negative environmental impacts. In Canada, the government regulations ensure that imported products comply with regulatory requirements, some of which directly related to environmental concerns (e.g., maximum residue limit/ MRL of pesticides level, ban on toxic substances). Small and medium sized (SMEs) companies exporting to Canada need to be aware of how buyers and regulators are defining and evaluating environmental performance of suppliers so that they can meet expectations in order to access the Canadian Market.   Developing an environmental management system (EMS) could be crucial in ensuring your services or products can reach international markets. Environmental systems involve reviewing organizational operations and products and identifying and mitigating any potential adverse impacts on the environment.

An EMS is typically accompanied with a pollution prevention plan (P2 Plan), especially for manufacturing businesses.  A P2 Plan can be prepared using an EMS framework. Focusing on pollution prevention can improve overall environmental performance and support organizations attain their environmental objectives and targets set through their EMS.

This document focuses on the environmental management and it has been prepared for small and medium sized companies who are exporting to Canada to help them better understand:

  • what environmental management system is,
  • how to implement an environmental management system in an SME to ensure a systematic approach to improving performance,
  • what tools and resources are available to help exporters to Canada to improve, document and communicate their environmental performance.

This document contains the following information:

  • definition of environmental management system
  • guidance on how your business can implement an environmental management system
  • business case for EMS and the advantage for SMEs to have an environmental management system, 
  • Canada’s market requirements, and  
  • some case studies that illustrate possible economic and environmental benefits from practicing environmental management system.

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