ISO REGISTRATION OF A TOURISM FACILITY

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1 ISO REGISTRATION OF A TOURISM FACILITY Author: JOHN G. FORTIER, FORTIER ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTING Abstract: Companies engaged in international trade and subsidiaries of multinational corporations, particularly, those dealing with the European Economic Community, can be required to demonstrate to their customers that their goods and/or services are produced in an environmentally sustainable manner. The Environmental Management System (EMS) (conforming to the ISO Standard) is being implemented by many companies to demonstrate this requirement. An EMS is implemented when companies have identified environmentally significant aspects associated with their operations. These aspects can have impacts at the local, regional or global levels. A tourism facility will trade on unique natural features such as topography, flora and/or fauna. These features are often considered environmentally sensitive by conservation organizations and regulated by governing bodies at various levels. The facility must establish an environmental management system to sustain its operations. The objectives of the EMS will be to conserve these features on which it relies for income and to conform to regulations. This paper reviews the registration process of an environmental management system conforming to ISO for a tourism facility located on the. It will explore EMS options, activities, time lines and costs a company can anticipate from the decision to implement to the completion of registration. INTRODUCTION I am presenting an overview of the registration of the Environmental Management System (EMS) for a 200-employee resort located on the. This will include the motivation behind registration, the elements and benefits of an Environmental Management System, registration activities and cost estimates up to the time of the issuance of a Certificate of Registration by a third-party registrar. ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (EMS) EMS is one of three standardized management systems currently in use. The other two are Quality Management Systems (ISO 9000 series) and Occupational Health and Safety (OHSAS 18001). The latter is used in the United Kingdom. There are many models for management systems. For the purposes of this discussion, we will view management systems from the aspect of communications. ISO 9000 communicates quality information between vendor and client. The system facilitates the exchange of quality of expectations and provides for client feedback. In Environmental and Occupational Health and 1

2 Safety systems there are more than two stakeholders. The vendor-client dialogue necessary for quality is joined by communications with employees, regulatory bodies and communities both local and global. EMS is based on the Deming Quality Management model involving plan, implement, check and review acting in a dynamic cyclical process termed continuous improvement. The following presents the seven key elements in the sequence to create an EMS: i. establish an environmental policy appropriate to itself; ii. identify the environmental aspects arising from the organization s past, existing or planned activities, products or services, to determine the environmental impacts of significance; iii. identify the relevant legislative and regulatory requirements; iv. identify priorities and set appropriate environmental objectives and targets; v. establish a structure and (a) program(s) to implement the policy and achieve objectives and targets; vi. facilitate planning, control, monitoring, corrective action, auditing and review activities to ensure both that the policy is complied with and that the environmental management system remains appropriate; vii. be capable of adapting to changing circumstances. CSA 1996 Figure 1 shows the elements and activities of an EMS. Feedback to the executive level provides information for management review of the system necessary for the continuous improvement function mandated by ISO See figure 1 below. 2

3 Figure 1: Elements and Activities of an EMS (Adapted from Kuhre 1995) Environmental Policy Assessment of Impacts and Regulations GAP Analysis Environmental Site Assessment Objectives and Targets Executive Management Review Implementation and Operation Structure and Responsibility Training, Awareness and Competence Communication EMS Documentation Documentation Control Operational control Emergency Preparedness and Response Administrative Auditing Internal Registration Surveillance Monitoring and Testing Record keeping Verification EMS BENEFITS Many managers are not aware that all businesses have an EMS. These systems are mostly activity based to comply with existing environmental regulations. The administration of such ad hoc systems is dispersed among several operational managers acting independently. Regulated activities are usually concerned with the construction and operation of the resort s infrastructure in areas such as energy, water, waste management and land use planning. The preface to ISO presents the following list of benefits from enacting an EMS: assuring customers of commitment to demonstrable environmental management; maintaining good public/community relations; satisfying investor criteria and improving access to capital; obtaining insurance at reasonable cost; enhancing image and market share; meeting vendor certification criteria; 3

4 improving cost control; reducing incidents that result in liability; demonstrating reasonable care; conserving input materials and energy; facilitating the attainment of permits and authorizations; fostering development and sharing environmental solutions; improving industry-government relations. ISO The Plan was approved in 1985 as Canada s first environmental land use plan, and was designated as a World Biosphere Reserve in (Ramsey 2000) Development on the Escarpment is subject to review by a number of regulatory bodies ranging from local governments to international organizations. Furthermore, resort guests come from a number of communities. The primary market for many escarpment resorts is three day stays and day tripping from communities in southern and central Ontario and American Great Lakes states. Registration of a resort s EMS can aid in the attainment of approvals from regulatory bodies, prevent operational oversights resulting in negative environmental impacts and be used as a marketing tool. EMS IMPLEMENTATION Implementation usually takes between 15 and 24 months from the executive commitment until issuance of a Certificate of Registration by a third-party registrar. The process will involve staff, consultants and a registrar s audit team. Based on a facility size of 200 employees, implementation costs will be approximately $70,000. Of this, $19,125 will be for registration (QMI 2001). The remaining $50,000 will be borne in-house where staff expertise exists, paid to quality and/or environmental consultants or a combination of staff and consultants. I encourage firms to first implement a Quality Management System (QMS) before entering into an EMS. The QMS usually has a much more immediate payback primarily due to improved client relations, is less complex with respect to the number of stakeholders and will develop an internal auditing facility which is critical to the maturation of any management system. Furthermore, a QMS will establish a management system framework that can be accessed by an EMS as shown in Annex B of the ISO document. EMS consultants come from both the quality and environmental disciplines. A firm will often use its quality consultant to implement an EMS. Quality consultants will be familiar with documentation and audit procedures and the firm s operations. Environmental consultants strengths lie in their knowledge of environmental regulation, land use planning and pollution prevention. Previously, environmental consultants would work in conjunction with quality consultants. Presently, there is a growing trend for environmental 4

5 consultants to handle the complete implementation process as their expertise in administrative and auditing areas grows. Two important elements in the implementation process handled by environmental consultants is GAP Analysis and Environmental Site Assessment (ESA). GAP Analyses, as the name implies, identifies and evaluates gaps in existing environmental activities and programs that prevent the current EMS from conforming to ISO The cost of a GAP Analysis is between $4,000 and $6,000. ESAs are part of the due diligence procedures required by lenders to prevent the lender being involved with a contaminated property. ESAs are performed whenever a mortgage or other financing is arranged with an industrial or commercial operation. The purpose of an ESA is to determine the presence of environmental liabilities associated with a particular parcel of land. Many environmental consultants are certified in this process. The cost of a Phase I ESA in conformance with the CSA Z is approximately $3,500 for a resort of the size described. REGISTRATION Third-party registration is one of three methods to verify that the activities of an organization are in conformance with its EMS and the organization s EMS is in conformance with the standard ISO The other two methods are verification by an independent second party or selfdeclaration. Verification for all three instances would involve Environmental Management Systems Audits prescribed by ISO 14010, ISO and ISO The decision to register is made early in EMS implementation and is used as a motivator for staff. Corporate motivators include client requirements and enhanced relationships with regulators. Selection of the registrar is at the discretion of the organization. The following are factors in registrar selection: Accreditation Recommendation by Clients Registrar References Industry Experience, Background, and Expertise Scheduling Fees Comfort level in establishing a long-term relationship ACHMM

6 Once a registrar is contracted, the scheduling of the registration audit is at the discretion of the registrar. The primary determinant is system maturity. The principle indicator of maturity is the completion of two complete audit cycles as shown in Figure 1. The registration process consists of a mandatory two-day pre-assessment costing $3,000, a threeday preliminary document review costing $4,000, a five-day registration audit costing $12,000 and semi-annual surveillance audits after the issue of a Certificate of Registration, to maintain registration, costing $4,000 each. The lead auditor performs the pre-assessment and preliminary document review. The purpose of a pre-assessment is to determine system maturity. The preliminary document review gathers information to organize and schedule the registration audit. An audit team of two to three persons performs the registration audit. The lead auditor manages the audit team, liases with site management and reviews the system documentation and design. One to two technical experts will examine site operations and interview employees. A Certificate of Registration will be issued based on the conclusions of the registration audit report. The report conclusions will be in the three following areas: EMS conformance to audit criteria Whether the system is properly implemented and maintained Whether the internal management review process is able to ensure the continuing suitability and effectiveness of the EMS. ISO SUMMARY The registration of a 200-employee resort to ISO will take between 15 and 24 months. Cost will be $70,000. Registrar cost will be approximately $20,000. The remainder will be staff and consultant charges. The primary motivators behind registration are client requirements and regulator enhanced relationships. REFERENCES ACHMM Tips for Selecting an ISO Registrar, The Manager. Rockville, Maryland: Academy of Certified Hazardous Materials Managers. CSA The ISO Essentials, ed. McKinley and White. Mississauga, Ontario: Canadian Standards Association. 6

7 ISO Environmental management systems General guidelines on principles, systems and supporting techniques. Mississauga, Ontario: Canadian Standards Association. ISO Guidelines for environmental auditing Audit procedures Auditing of environmental management systems. Mississauga, Ontario: Canadian Standards Association. Kuhre, W ISO Certification: Environmental Management Systems. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc. QMI Personal Communication. Mississauga, Ontario: Quality Management Institute. Ramsey, D. May 17, Exploring the Dimensions of the Biosphere Reserve: Landscape, Monitoring, Community Action. Georgetown, Ontario:. CONTACT John G. Fortier Environmental Engineer and Industrial Hygienist Fortier Environmental Consulting P.O Box Belleville, Ontario K8N 5V1 Telephone: (613) Fax: (613)

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