Ecology is a part of biology to which we pay more and more attention nowadays. In the 17th century, a Flemish scientist named Jan van Helmont, called the father of pneumatic chemistry, discovered the substance carbon dioxide. He then called it “wood” or “wood” gas (gas sylvestre), noticing its ability to be released when burning wood.
At the end of the 19th century, the Swedish physico-chemist Svante Arenius became the first scientist to warn that the use of minerals as fuel could accelerate the natural process of global warming.
His formidable discoveries are confirmed by David Keeling in the 1960s of the twentieth century. Of course, in today’s modern world, our civilization is already very advanced. However, this does not mean that we have found solutions to all our problems. On the contrary, some of them are only now becoming a serious threat to the ecosystem and all of us who inhabit it.
Climate change is one of them, after the industrial-technological boom that occurred in the last century, as well as the discovery of plastics, which today have become the enemy № 1 of pure nature. We are part of a fragile puzzle that consists of each of its pieces. As human activity places a huge burden on our planet every day, this results in disturbance of the ecological balance, deforestation, fragmentation and complete destruction of the habitats of a number of biological species.
What are the dangers and are there any measures we can take to prevent them?
It turns out that fuels are not the only problem. In practice, it seems that every activity we perform leaves its small or large imprint on the ecosystem. We dispose of waste, some of which is even toxic and needs to undergo serious treatment before it can be released into the environment.
Modern production additionally burdens us with more and more future garbage, which a number of factories around the world produce every day in the form of fast-moving packaging and goods. Non-recyclable materials are a particular problem – they are a real challenge. The activities of companies from sectors such as energy, agriculture, industry and construction also have a direct impact on the nature around us.
In addition, energy and transport, ie. fuel, are needed in almost every activity, which further complicates the situation. All this creates the need to think ahead and solve our problems in the most sustainable way possible. Environmental management comes to the rescue. This is a process through which we can reduce the scale of this impact, thus limiting the negative consequences for the environment.
This is of great importance today as we witness a daily stream of bad news about the nature of our planet. Environmental management is a necessary measure, without which one day the environment will become hostile even to the human race.
Most often, public institutions, the non-governmental sector and business organizations prepare environmental management programs to help them in this endeavor. Usually, individual consumers are also stimulated to manage their environmental footprint at the household, workplace, etc. level. Each of us can contribute to this noble cause.
In 1993, the European Commission (EC) established the Environmental Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). It is a voluntary tool that helps different organizations to evaluate and control their approach to environmental friendliness and to improve it over time. In order to be certified under the scheme, an organization needs to meet the group international standards ISO 14000 for the regulation of interaction with the environment, which cover the basic requirements for reducing the harmful impact on nature.
But that is not enough. It is also necessary to cover a series of special EMAS regulations. Management quality is measured by key performance indicators (KPIs). They include:
- energy efficiency,
- material efficiency,
- minimization of harmful emissions,
- optimization of the water consultation and the generation of household and toxic waste.
According to the Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy (CSR) of the EU, compliance with EMAS is mandatory, but there are other conditions related to environmental management that must be met by a company in order for it to have a claim for CSR.
The General Directorate “Regional and Settlement Policy” of the EC is also responsible for the development of Criteria for green public procurement in the field of construction and maintenance of wastewater infrastructure. They are based on the main key impacts on the ecosystem. In this way, the European Union aims to increase its overall energy efficiency and also to promote the use of energy from renewable sources. It also stimulates the purchase of treatment equipment, as well as the reduction of water consumption and other measures.
Environmental management is most often carried out according to a model called the Deming Cycle. This is a popular approach that consists of four phases, namely planning, implementation, verification and action. This is an easy and effective way when we want to achieve improvement. Eco-management systems are part of company management systems and include planning, structuring, allocation of responsibilities, resources and implementation of corporate environmental safety procedures, practices and processes.
As well as being of global importance, the most moral thing to do from a moral standpoint, meeting the necessary requirements of EMAS and the CSR Strategy brings a series of benefits to all of us.
It is associated with certain investments, which by easing our burden on the environment, can bring real dividends to your company. For example, by introducing our activities in accordance with regulatory and regulatory requirements, we can achieve good status in society, as well as additional motivation for our employees.
Most countries offer various programs and initiatives, providing the possibility to receive some financial and tax relief in order to stimulate CSR and environmental management. We are still far behind in this respect. Environmental taxes and fees are due by companies in several categories – these are resource waste, pollution, transport and energy.
In terms of energy, registered carbon emissions are mostly taxed. In transport, they are related to taxes on vehicles and other transport machinery, road tax, etc., plus here again mentioned the already mentioned energy emissions. Pollution is charged on the basis of emissions, waste management, and noise.