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

Genevieve Carruthers

NSW Department of Primary Industries, Wollongbar Agricultural Institute 1243 Bruxner Highway, Wollongbar NSW 2477


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.

Key Words

Environmental management systems, ISO 14001, Green Tier, partnership for environmental outcomes

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