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EMS 2008 Abstracts

Integrating environmental management and occupational health & safety management

Ann Stewart

What is “Green” - the ACCC Legal Implications and Certification

Jean Cannon

ISO 14001 in an Online Group of Queensland Dryland Farmers

Jean Cannon

A group of 5 Queensland farmers and agricultural consultants have just completed online training using three training module to assist them to develop ISO 14001 in their businesses. They started just before Christmas and are now pulling it all together ready for external audit. They battled major floods and extreme weather conditions during the process.

The first part of this case study briefly describes how the 3 module online training system works and the remainder includes a discussion by the participants of how they found the process.

Hybrid analysis: combining input/output analysis, company expenditure records and process measures to reveal full supply chain environmental aspects.

Andrew Simmons and Christopher Dey

Effective environmental decision making can be hampered by the practical difficulties of quantifying the cumulative impacts of an organisation’s supply chains. For example, whilst organisations are generally able to assess their own direct (Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s scope 1) and electricity-related (scope 2) greenhouse gas emissions, calculation of the embodied emissions of their supply chain (scope 3) presents significant practical and methodological challenges. Yet deficiencies in the knowledge of upstream environmental aspects data can ultimately result in poor decision-making. A hybrid analysis that combines process analysis of environmental aspects with input-output analysis significantly addresses this challenge. This paper introduces the hybrid analysis technique, explains how purchase ledger information can be quickly converted into profiles of carbon emissions and other environmental aspects and quantified at multiple levels of an organisation’s supply chain. Case studies are provided of this technique applied in practice as a management and policy analysis tool, sometimes exposing counter-intuitive results.

Poster Paper - BestFarms Monitors Success

Kirsten Skraha

Future Food and Fibre Project

Jillian Staton

We all use the words ‘EMS’ and ‘sustainability’, but what do they actually mean? And, perhaps more importantly, can we show the people in our community real examples of EMS and sustainability in action?

The Future Food & Fibre Project has challenged us to look beyond the buzzwords. We have sought out primary producers in every food and fibre sector – meat, fish, wool, cropping, dairy, eggs and horticulture – to discover how they are managing their natural resources for the future. We’ve then asked a selection of producers to share their experiences with the broader community.

We have taken members of the public on-farm, and even on-water, to give them an understanding of each producer’s business and environmental goals, and the challenges facing their enterprise. We’ve asked the producers to give us specific examples of the strategies they take to manage their environmental risk, and how they use EMS as a business tool.

Our case studies reflect the diverse range of sustainability approaches within Gippsland. They emphasise that there are many different roads leading to sustainability – some are wide, some are less travelled, and some primary producers are a little further down the track than others.

Corporate Sustainability & EMS

Mark Roberts1 and Jade Brain2

Today Corporate Sustainability stands for adapting to a changing environment with well thought out solutions and answers to long term questions. In the past Corporate Sustainability lacked business purpose but by incorporating an Environmental Management System (EMS) into a company’s Sustainability Strategy means it’s not just a system but a means of reflecting your company’s Values & Business Drivers. The traditional focus of EMS at an operational level has now evolved into a more dynamic process of initiating strategic change which means commitment to sustainability isn’t tested or ruled by a company’s financial performance.

Coomes Consulting are currently working with Livingedge (an Australian owned company that supplies top end design furniture to the marketplace) on implementing an EMS within their Corporate Sustainability Strategy where their key focus areas are People, Product & Planet.  A significant Environmental Objective & Target for Livingedge is the measuring of their Carbon Footprint with the objective of achieving Carbon Neutrality within their business.  The initial process will establish a baseline relating to their carbon emissions as a means of monitoring & measuring their greenhouse gas emissions.

Having their EMS embedded inside their Corporate Sustainability Strategy means that implementing change and continual improvement isn’t just operational but stems from the business’s purpose & values. When significant paradigm shifts occur (e.g. climate change or technological developments) at either a global or local level, it’s reflected within the company’s sustainability strategy, making it a journey for staff and stakeholders to participate in and gain ownership of along the way.

EMS adoption – the value of an innovative ems tool and an industry-wide approach

Terry John Muir

The pathway to prominence and recognition of the Australian Golfing Industry as the world leader in environmental management through EMS is presented. The Australian Golfing Industry’s EMS initiative has revolutionised golf course environmental management across the globe by implementing an innovative EMS strategy in consultation with the industry. ISO 14001 has been transformed into a simulated golf game and incorporated into a web based platform to improve EMS delivery and understanding. “Build it and they will come,” has been the dominant historical approach to EMS development and implementation but there is a need to provide incentives for them to stay with EMS. Golf’s EMS initiative fostered a strong sense of efficacy to provide EMS users with high assurance in their capabilities. EMS users of the golf EMS platform could approach difficult EMS tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided.

Innovative deployment and support mechanisms, an industry specific EMS configuration, scale and manageability resulted in an EMS initiative that could connect everyone to an on-line EMS. Golf recognised it had significant environmental challenges and through EMS it has seized the opportunity to create the industry’s pathway to sustainability.

Establishing an EMS bio-indicator protocol for South African agriculture, based on new crop case studies

Vaughn R. Swart1, Maitland T. Seaman1 & Schalk vdM. Louw2

The greatest threat to biodiversity in the past 50 years has been due to the habitat destruction associated with agriculture. The sustainability of an agro-ecosystem depends on the conservation of its biodiversity. Environmental management systems (EMS) are important to reduce the impact of agricultural management practices on the environment and increase its functional efficiency. The development of a robust methodology for EMS’s is thus necessary, by implementing measures of insect and vegetation biodiversity, as mechanisms to indicate the degree of disturbance of the environment.

The following case studies were conducted to pinpoint potential indicators as part of the methodology. The indicators would be of an ecological nature, with specific reference to vegetation and insects. Insects were used as indicator community since they are prevalent, have high species diversity, are easy to sample, are important in ecosystem function, provide early detection of ecological changes and respond to environmental changes faster than vertebrates. The influences of farming management practices on the biodiversity are also taken into consideration. Two sites with different vegetation types, climate and agricultural practices were chosen for the case studies (Prieska, Northern Cape – Pistachio Nuts, and Winterton, KwaZulu Natal – Kenaf). At each site, marked transects were sampled for insects and vegetation. At four different locations on site, three transects in the relevant crop and three in the surrounding environment were set 2, 10 and 50 metres from the crop border. Insect morpho-species were categorised into functional feeding groups. After analysis, patterns of similarity in the biodiversity of each transect, can be seen at the different locations, relative to the frequency and diversity of vegetation sampled. Thus aspects of ecology (edge-effect, biodiversity etc.) should indicate a relationship between communities, indicating the level of ecosystem integrity. This level of ecological integrity could be taken into consideration when adopting a quality management system such as Eurepgap. An early prototype version of the EMS protocol design will be suggested and then further streamlining is planned for the future with the aid of a workshop.

EMS and Change

Chris Reid

The North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA) has been offering environmental management systems (EMS) training to landholders since 2003. EMS is seen as a process that incorporates catchment targets with productive viability in a manner that is acceptable to both landholders and catchment managers. The acceptance and uptake of this free training has been varied across the catchment and some interesting observations can be made. Proactive, rather than reactive approaches to land management by landholders vary considerably across the region. We have observed that landholders in some areas, which are historically familiar with change, or belong to industry groups that compete on the international market, have a positive attitude to using an EMS. Other groups, perhaps where historically they have had little control over markets, are slower to recognise the positive, proactive gains that EMS can afford them.

Environmental Management in Centrelink


EMS for professional fishers of Moreton Bay: development and implementation

Kellie Williams

The Moreton Bay Environmental Management System (EMS) for commercial fishermen was developed between 2003 – 2006 by industry participants with assistance from an EMS expert from the University of Queensland. This EMS is unique in that it spans a large geographical area, covers over 100 fishing businesses, multiple fisheries and multiple species. It is the first large-scale multi-fishery EMS that has been developed and implemented in Australia.

The process used to develop the EMS has provided a blue-print for fishing and farming groups elsewhere across the country. The EMS was developed using an inclusive, grass-roots approach where the fishermen drove the process, with guidance from a facilitator – as opposed to traditional approaches where a consultant is used.

The EMS is currently partway through a three year implementation. The most significant outcome to date has been a marked attitudinal shift amongst industry participants. The process has been a catalyst for industry development, a higher level of awareness of environmental issues and a strong commitment to continual improvement in environmental performance at the individual operator level. Importantly, the project has built social capital in this previously fractured group, which allows them to now work together on common goals, as they attempt to manage a natural resource shared with many other users.

Regional projects currently underway as part of EMS implementation aim to address the ecological footprint of fishing activities, but also activities undertaken by other user groups that affect the health of the marine environment. Examples include projects that aim to: achieve habitat protection while maintaining resource access, improve water quality, trial and adopt innovative gear designs/devices that reduce the overall ecological footprint of fishing and improve eco-efficiency.

EMS Innovations in the US

Susan Sakaki

In the United States (US), many corporations operating internationally have implemented environmental management systems (EMS). What may be unique, however, is the extent to which the public sector has also been engaged in EMS development. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the PEER (Public Entity EMS Resource) Center program to bring EMS tools to public sector organizations, including municipalities, public utilities, universities, and state and local governments. Presidential Executive Orders issued in the 1990’s directed federal agencies to implement EMSs, and several states launched programs that encouraged or required EMS implementation. Under the leadership of the PEER Center, the EMS approach has also been applied to regions, linking community organizations and forging public-private partnerships. Finally, some organizations have found the EMS framework and process useful for managing sustainability initiatives and greenhouse gas reduction strategies.

Sharing the Experience: a partnership with industry in the development of EMS

Mathew Jeffrey1

In late 2005, Rural Solutions SA – a South Australian Government owned consultancy business - approved the development and implementation of an Environmental Management System for its head office. The initiative was demanded by a group of employees that believed the business should be demonstrating better environmental management, especially seeing our consultants were working with many industry groups to develop a similar response to their stakeholder needs.

An implementation committee was formed with representation from consultants across the operational units of the business. By utilising a mix of consultants from across the business, the implementation phase was more successful, primarily due to a greater level of ownership of the EMS by staff leading to increased understanding and compliance.

The systematic approach to managing environmental issues within the business has resulted in a greater awareness of environmental issues by staff, reduced risks of environmental harm, savings in natural resource use/cost and stakeholder recognition. An example of a positive result of the EMS is the energy savings that have been achieved at the Level 8, 101 Grenfell Street office. For the past two financial years, energy consumption has been reduced by 8% (totalling 16%). This has been achieved through behavioural change and without any substantial modifications to infrastructure.

The EMS has been implemented in core business operations for over 1 year and was recently certified to ISO 14001.

The next challenge is to determine the future needs of policy makers, the market and other stakeholders when it comes to future governance and sustainability reporting needs in the face of climate change challenges.

EMS in the agricultural value chain for fresh produce markets

Nina Landman 1 and Vaughn R. Swart 2

A successful agri-business is dependant on favourable environmental conditions. In this regard environmental management adds value through the whole value chain up to the consumer and even beyond with the discarding of waste. The value chain of agriculture starts with the producer/farmer and ends with the consumer. This paper focuses on the fresh produce markets as part of the value chain in agriculture. The fresh produce markets serve as a marketing platform for producers of fresh vegetables and fruit to wholesalers and the public. Marketing is an integral part of any successful business, thus the impact of the fresh produce market in the agricultural value chain cannot be overstated.

A participatory approach was followed with the introduction of the environmental management system in the fresh produce market in Bloemfontein, South Africa, where employees from the market where contracted to serve on an EMS team. Notski Africa Trading, the appointed consultant, guided the EMS team through the whole development of the environmental management system. Care was taken to involve as many of the employees as possible in the EMS team and as promoters of the EMS. The benefit of this participatory approach was a total buy-in and commitment from the fresh produce market. The ISO requires that organizations maximize participation of producers and consumers. Therefore, the producers and the customers of the fresh produce market will eventually be included in their environmental management system. The fresh produce market in this regard facilitates the introduction of the producers of fresh fruit and vegetables to environmental management. The commitment from the fresh produce market will ensure that the environmental management system is reviewed and maintained on a regular basis. By giving the employees control over the development process of the environmental management system, they regard the system as their own and as their responsibility.

Using applied research to verify industry sustainability and holistic EMS approaches

David Menzies

Forest production related activities impact on the environment. Cognisant of this, Private Forestry Southern Queensland (PFSQ) promotes sustainable production of value products subject to sound environmental management based upon a system of applied research.

Over many years PFSQ has developed an Environmental Management System (EMS) for privately owned native forests. The systems in place aim to ensure that privately owned forests are managed in a way to minimise the impact on the forest ecology and biodiversity whilst maintaining a highly productive forest. With funding supplied by DAFF’s ‘EMS Pathways to Sustainable Agriculture’ PFSQ has coordinated the transferability and applicability of an EMS that looks at forestry on privately owned property. PFSQ is also exploring the use of web-based systems to provide landholders with a holistic approach to environmental management systems. It is envisioned that these systems will encompass the full range of activities, aspects and impacts across multiple enterprises conducted on properties across Southern Queensland and ultimately Australia.

To better understand the activities, aspects and impacts of forest management in privately owned forests, PFSQ has established a series of monitoring plots across different properties to follow growth and stand structural attributes through time. It is envisaged that this system of applied research will in time demonstrate the effectiveness of EMS used on privately owned native forests in Southern Queensland.

EMS – Making it Work for the Sustainable Management of the Defence Estate

Juliet Woodward

Sinclair Knight Merz has worked with the Department of Defence to implement The Defence Environmental Management System (EMS) at Victoria Barracks - Paddington, HMAS Penguin, HMAS Waterhen, Garden Island and HMAS Watson. Under the Defence EMS, environmental management processes are developed and implemented at Defence sites to meet Defence’s environmental policy objectives. Defence’s robust policy on EMS implementation allow these processes to be tailored to the specific needs of the individual site.

The primary focus of the project was to facilitate further implementation of the existing site-based EMS processes as well as to enhance environmental performance at Defence sites in the Sydney Central region. The project also provided an opportunity to address any strategic changes in the Defence environmental policy and key recommendations from previous EMS management reviews. SKM, working with Defence’s regional environmental staff, developed recommendations for a “refresh” of the EMS using a risk management based approach. Opportunities to streamline the EMS processes at the five sites were identified and an innovative regional framework was implemented. The benefit of simplifying documentation across the region to minimise duplication, and the application of a consistent format for risk data and other EMS records was applied. This regional methodology has been applied successfully through the development of an intranet based system that can be accessed by all relevant Defence personnel and follows a three tier approach with different elements, reflective of the EMS implementation at a national, regional and site based level. An interactive roadmap of the EMS can be accessed for any of these Defence sites and provides links into existing web based processes that relate to the environmental management of facilities and operations. The on-line system allows ease of interaction, regular updating and longevity of the EMS.

The key learnings have been the value of an intranet based system that utilises existing business processes within a large and diverse national organisation. By changing the platform of the EMS a wider sphere of engagement and awareness has been achieved as well as a simplification of implementation of environmental management processes.

Are you ready to report against the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act from 1 July 2008?

Paul Cheal

Changing our EMS: Adapting with Thought – A case study on adapting catchment based systems.

Kirsten Skraha

After receiving funding through the Australian Government’s Environmental Management System (EMS) Pathways to Sustainable Agricultural Programme, the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority (NR CMA) developed a partnership with the BestFarms program in WA to deliver sustainable agriculture using EMS in northern NSW. BestFarms adapted their catchment based EMS to reflect the priorities and issues faced in the northern NSW, and incorporated local and relevant industry knowledge, information and resources to ensure that the BestFarms system would remain a effective and practical tool for landholders. Local landcare officers, NR CMA staff and industry representatives were involved in the adaption to ensure that ownership of the system was placed squarely in the hands of those delivering it. The project has been a great success, with over 73 properties developing an EMS and five workshops being held up until March and five more workshops planned before June 2008.

What are significant developments that will influence EMS use in the Federal bureaucracy?

Mick Dawes

Over the past 18 months Medicare Australia, through its Environmental Management Unit (EMU), has successfully introduced a performance-based Environmental Management System (EMS). The framework has been recognised as best practice by the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and Arts, and will be used as a model for other government agencies.

At the outset EMU gained top management support, designed robust policies and procedures, and demonstrated a clear link between financial, social and environmental outcomes. A key challenge for Medicare Australia is maintaining standardisation and consistency in a national network of 260 property sites with around 6000 staff. This has been achieved through ongoing staff education programs, formal communication structures and a series of internal environmental audits. A dedicated ‘people and place’

corporate governance structure that reports to the peak governance committee, monitors progress against the environmental management strategy – a three year plan. The EMS has even made its way into Medicare Australia’s corporate values with ‘maintain a strong connection with our community and care for our environment’.

How Industry Is Responding To EMS

Graham A Brown

Environmental management systems (EMS) became formalized only in the 1990’s, firstly with the publication of the British standard, BS7750 in 1992; then the European Community’s voluntary regulation, the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) in 1993, and the International Organisation for Standardisation’s ISO 14001:1996 Environmental management systems – specification with guidance for use. ISO 14001 has undergone its first review, which was republished in November 2004.

There has been a dramatic uptake of the ISO 14001 standard worldwide, with 129,031 organisations known to be certified as at January 2007, the last full count available. The question arises, if so many organisations around the world are certified to either ISO 14001, and probably many more than that are using ISO 14001 as a model but are not seeking certification, is there any evidence of benefits to the environment and to the organisations in return for the expense and effort of implementing an EMS?

A USA study concluded that there is substantial evidence to suggest that introduction of an EMS had little effect on regulatory compliance at the facility level on the whole, while another one concluded that EMS adoption positively affects environmental performance over time and across a variety of environmental indicators and business sectors. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many organisations benefit from implementing an EMS, however the few studies that have been conducted in the UK, Europe and America raise significant doubts.

Some industries are looking beyond certification of an EMS to ISO 14001, and have developed programs such as the chemical industry’s “Responsible Care RC-14001” which incorporates ISO 14001, and the Australian Minerals Council’s “Enduring Value” program, which incorporates health and safety, community consultation and other principles of good practice beyond the requirements of an EMS.

Globally, EMS will continue to grow in importance. However, it will be necessary for the long-term continuation of EMS as a viable management tool for positive benefits to be demonstrated, including improved environmental performance and regulatory compliance. Graham Brown will discuss these issues in his Keynote address.

Climate change - the agriculture dilemma

Elliot Dwyer

Climate change is cited as the greatest challenge to mankind in the history of modern civilisation. Agriculture, forestry and fisheries contribute approximately 22.9% of Australia's total emissions (National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, 2005). Management of agricultural sources of methane and nitrous oxide is particularly difficult because of the distributed nature of the emissions (livestock, soils, fertilisers and animal wastes) and the influence of a wide range of environmental factors, not least of all, the weather. New guidelines, however, being prepared by the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change, identify a range of best management practice that may be utilised as operating and production standards in on-farm Environmental Management Systems and will aid in managing and reducing emissions.

Ecomapping and Environmental Improvement in the Print Industry

Roger Carthew

When confronted with the need to begin the sustainability journey, most are stumped on the, “how to”. The ecomapping tool clearly answers this “How to” question. And in an elegant way, can lead to an EMS if the user chooses.

Within the context of a typical SME, the problem of “how to reduce environmental impacts” is addressed.

It begins with the process of recognising the need, identifying the means for addressing the problem, use of the ecomapping tool and reporting the outcomes. The case study will report results, the most notable being a 58% reduction in CO2 emissions linked to electricity usage.

Investigating the participatory, co-operative nature of ecomapping and its ability to build knowledge and awareness, its role in behavioural change and building sustainability is demonstrated.

Integral to this is improved resource utilisation, processes modification and management review of the outcomes. Piloting this process has been aided by use of the EMS Control Panel. A brief flight test will be provided. Once back on the ground the latest micro environmental report on two A4 pages will demonstrate the powerful reductions that can be achieved in resource utilisation, emissions and wastes.

Further opportunities and use of the tool within the print industry are detailed. Additional experience and opportunities for use of the tool in a number of different sectors will also be touched upon.

Sustainability: Do we need an EMS?

The growing clamour for sustainability presents us with opportunities and challenges. In a community less and less polarised by the debate on climate change the results of a business survey are presented.

Surveyed to understand their preparedness to act, their level of awareness and any drivers to their actions, this will be presented and analysed. Their perceptions of EMS as a tool to meet the demands will be assessed.

Is EMS the tool to “save the planet” or simply part of the old way of thinking?

Is there more to be done?

As the picture becomes clearer it will be established what the role of EMS can be.

The role of EMS in Climate Change: giving your ISO 14001 system a climate change health check

Matthias Gelber1 and Genevieve Carruthers 2

While new ISO publications dealing with greenhouse gas accounting and verification are being increasingly utilised, the existing ISO 14001 process provides a powerful tool to mitigate climate change effects through improved business management. As the process has already been widely implemented through a range of businesses across the world, it is more efficient to build on these existing systems to better manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, rather than starting afresh. This paper will examine the use of ISO 14001 currently and propose a series of ‘checks’ that can be applied by any business with an extant EMS to assess whether GHG issues are being adequately addressed by the EMS.

Use of EMS amongst oyster growers in the Clyde River (

Kevin McCash

The Clyde River Oyster Growers (CROG) commenced their EMS development in March 2006. The group wanted to build on their intimate understanding of the estuarine environment and its management and meet their responsibilities for sustainable oyster production. Further, the group wanted to work with the community and natural resource managers to ensure the health and productivity of the river, and ensure an on-going and safe production system. Maintaining regional employment and investment were additional targets.

An initial cluster group worked with Seafood Services Australia and a Tasmanian oyster farmer to gain an understanding of the EMS process, and the benefits one could bring. This initial cluster group has subsequently expanded, and with support from the Southern Rivers Catchment CMA, SeaNet, and a range of researchers, (supported by funding by CROG and State and Regional Development), a larger group of participants has developed. Outcomes to date include an increased group cohesion and operation, and recognition of the environmental issues facing the region. This case study will outline the aims and development of the Clyde River EMS, and also present some of the future plans.

The role of EMS in managing a small business

Bob Richards

Australian Barramundi Culture (ABC) is a Northern Territory barramundi farming enterprise that views EMS as an essential part of the business. This paper discusses ABC’s perspectives on both the opportunities and the challenges that EMS presents to small business.

The opportunities include that EMS is an effective management tools to implement company environmental policy; it provides a transparent view of environmental management performance; it can be used to demonstrate company environmental compliance and due diligence; it is a valuable tool for informing and negotiation with regulators; and, it has the potential to play a key role in building trust and commitment by providing transparent and practical methods for translating agreed values into structured actions. For EMS to work, it must be integrated into the business and it must have a sustained level of commitment and resource allocation.

Implementation of EMS for ABC was challenged by the significant demand it placed on the limited resources available. It was perceived by some staff as onerous and tedious to implement and suffered from being poorly understood. It was therefore resented by some and seen in a negative light.

The Australian barramundi industry is moving towards developing an ESD framework as a means to engage regulators and other stakeholders and to develop negotiated co-regulation.

Creating public: private partnerships with Environmental Management Systems (EMS) – encouraging participation and progress

Genevieve Carruthers

The use of EMS in a range of industry and government sectors continues to grow around the world. Increasingly, these systems are being relied on both by government agencies and business operators to achieve triple-bottom line outcomes. During visits to a range of EMS users in the US in 2007, key features that assisted in creating public: private partnerships and forging successful environmental outcomes were apparent. These features included:

• clarity in what was deemed an EMS and use of recognised standards for EMS development

• legislative support for use of various programs

• expectations for the achievement of environmental outcomes and reporting of these

• provision of support to achieve outcomes, rather than ‘buying’ the outcomes

• validation of both systems use and outcomes achieved by independent third parties

• adequate resourcing of programs

• a ‘champion’ for the cause

• mutual trust and a genuine desire to work together

• use of partnerships to fill gaps in knowledge or expertise to developed solutions.

This paper describes several of the partnership approaches and highlights some of the features of these programs that ‘make it work’. These findings are compared with approaches to EMS that have recently been used in Australia.

Moving beyond greenwash to real eco-labelling

Petar Johnson

A trend in post industrial societies is to try to reverse the impact from the excessive consumption of the 20th century through buying ‘green’ products. This genuine motivation to reduce the environmental consequences of uninformed purchasing is being derailed in a fog of vague green claims. This was recognised recently by the ACCC in a warning on misleading environmental marketing conduct. Many green claims are neither supported by evidence nor well explained, but there are some reliable green labelling programs to help the buyer. An ‘ecolabel’ provides the customer with information to make a choice about which product is environmentally and socially preferable. Life cycle-based ecolabel certification guided by the International Standard (ISO 14 024) differentiates products within its functional category. Only the top environmentally preferable products achieve certification. This means the customer does not need to spend their own time and effort in determining in detail, which product is the best.

A procurement manager (or purchasing officer) is far more effective at this time in giving market signals to the supply chain, than a household customer. Corporate procurement departments are highly influential because they buy in bulk and are well placed to avoid impacts beforehand. Corporations can choose to either not purchase harmful products or avoid unacceptable consequences at the time of purchase. The unique feature of green procurement is its strong feedback loop in the trade cycle forcing changes in the supply chain and helping clarify key product environmental performance attributes sought by the market. The green markets are growing exponentially in Australia and overseas and are in the order of $40B in Australia. The most effective role of environmental managers in this development is to ensure that green purchasing and environmental development is not just on quantity but to maintain the focus equality on the quality allowing a reasonable social and market shift to Factor 10 and related sustainable consumption objectives.

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