An Environmental Management System or EMS is a set of processes and practices that enables an organization to reduce its environmental impacts and increase its operating efficiency. An EMS is a continual cycle of planning, implementing, reviewing and improving the processes and activities that an organization undertakes to meet its business and environmental goals. The City’s EMS is built on the ISO 14001 International Standard and the "Plan, Do, Check, Act" model. This model fosters continual improvement of the system based upon:
- Planning : identifying environmental aspects and impacts and establishing goals [Plan];
- Implementing : objectives and targets, training, operational controls [Do];
- Checking : monitoring, measuring, corrective / preventive action [Check];
- Reviewing : progress reviews and updating the EMS [Act].
EMSs allow organizations to systematically manage their environmental and health safety matters. EMSs can result in both business and environmental benefits, including:
- Improved environmental performance;
- Enhanced compliance with regulations;
- Pollution prevention and conservation of resources;
- Reduced / mitigated risks;
- Correction of conditions that hinder sustainable environments;
- Increased operating efficiency / reduced costs;
- Improved employee awareness of environmental issues and responsibilities;
- Better communication within the organization and with the public.
The City's EMS Policy statement is available for viewing here.
The City of Charlottesville’s EMS strives to challenge and empower each individual City employee to proactively promote environmental leadership. We are committed to environmental management practices that promote the environmental stewardship principles of compliance, pollution prevention, continual improvement, and sustainability.
The City is pursuing the development and implementation of its EMS in a phased approach, with the ultimate goal of the EMS being implemented City-wide. The City's Environmental Office administers the EMS program and provides support to the EMS fence lines, the operational areas participating in the process. The first fence line was the Department of Parks and Recreation, which kicked off the EMS process in the spring of 2003. Initially, the Department's efforts were part of a two year program in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Global Environment and Technology Foundation (GETF). The Third EMS Initiative for Public Entities included eight other public sector agencies from across the country, and provided guidance and direction in the development and implementation of the EMS effort. To learn more about this initiative and the other agencies that participated, view the Third EMS Initiative for Public Entities Final Report. As of January 2005, Parks and Recreation has assumed responsibility for continuing to grow the EMS efforts. In the summer of 2004, the EMS initiative was extended to a second fence line, the Fleet Division of the Department of Public Works. The implementation of the EMS in the Fleet Division is ongoing. In the spring of 2006, a third fence line was included, the Transit Division of the Department of Public Works. Most recently, in February of 2007, two more fence lines began the EMS process, the Public Service Division and the Gas Utility of the Public Works Department.
Department of Parks and Recreation:
Fleet Division, Department of Public Works:
Virginia Environmental Excellence Program (VEEP)
The Virginia Environmental Excellence Program (VEEP) is administered by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) and encourages the development of pollution prevention (P2) programs and EMSs. In the fall of 2004, Parks and Recreation was the first fence line from the City of Charlottesville to be accepted into VEEP. Parks and Recreation attained the VEEP Environmental Enterprise (E2) designation for its EMS and P2 efforts. To view the Parks and Recreation 2005 VEEP Annual Report click here. In March of 2005, the Fleet Division was also accepted into the VEEP program at the E2 level. To view the Fleet Division 2005 VEEP Annual Report click here. In December of 2006, Parks and Recreation became the first public agency in Virginia to receive VEEP's Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise (E4) designation, the program's highest level of participation. City EMS fence lines will continue to pursue acceptance into the VEEP program as the EMS progresses.
Key Elements of an EMS
City-Related EMS Documents
The 2001 EMS Implementation Guide for Small and Medium-Sized Organizations
For more information or questions regarding Charlottesville's EMS please E-mail us.