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How to Use the IEMS Implementation Guide

Many types of organizations can benefit from using the Integrated Environmental Management System (IEMS) Implementation Guide, as follows:

  • Companies of all sizes can use it to develop an IEMS.
  • Large companies can use it to green their supply chain and their customer chain.
  • Trade associations can customize it and develop a sector-based approach, then provide training for their members.
  • Federal agencies and facilities can use it to fulfill requirements in the Executive Order, Greening the Government Through Leadership in Environmental Management.
  • Other governmental facilities can use it to comply with environmental regulations and become more environmentally proactive.
  • Business educators can use it to develop or incorporate into curricula about greener business practices.

Any type of lead organization, such as an association, technical assistance provider, or a large company, can use it to facilitate the development of an IEMS among its members, clients, or small providers. Possible roles for lead organizations include:

  • Adapting the IEMS Implementation Guide and other tools to reflect a given industry sector's unique conditions.
  • Organizing and leading participating companies to develop an IEMS.
  • Developing sector-specific pollution prevention and regulatory information.
  • Helping establish environmental improvement targets and evaluate results.
  • Recognizing or certifying companies that participate and demonstrate results.

This guide organized into 10 modules, each of which is designed to be completed through a group discussion in approximately 2 hours. Organizations should consider conducting regular sessions to complete the work in each module. Discussion sessions should be held once a week or once per month until the job is completed. Completing each section fully is more important than finishing in any particular calendar time frame.

Organizations might wish to set up a committee to lead the development of an IEMS, though all employees should be involved in the IEMS process. Involving all employees from the beginning has two benefits: first, they will be more likely to take ownership of managing environmental concerns; and second, they often have valuable insight into how improvements can be made. In addition to meeting on their own, committee members should meet regularly with other employees to provide progress reports and solicit input — regular communication and involvement is essential. The process of getting people to think about how to consider environmental concerns in their daily work is as important as any step in setting up an IEMS.

Some of these modules should be revisited at several steps in the process of developing an IEMS. For example, organizations will develop a communications plan in the beginning, but they might need to add to it as environmental concerns are identified. Thus, some sections might not be completed in one meeting.

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