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Identification of environmental aspects in an EMS context: A methodological framework for the Swedish National Rail Administration
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment. (Miljöbedömning och förvaltning)
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment. (Miljöbedömning och förvaltning)
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment. (Miljöbedömning och förvaltning)
2007 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 15, no 5, 385-394 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Environmental aspects are basic elements in an Environmental Management System (EMS). The identification of environmental aspects is, however, recognized as one of the most complicated parts in establishing an EMS and has been subject to criticism concerning, e.g., lack of transparency and reproducibility. This paper evaluates the Swedish National Rail Administration's (Banverket) current practice for the identification of environmental aspects. A better link between activity, aspect and impact is needed. A more stringent identification procedure would improve Banverket's environmental management. The paper proposes a structured framework for the identification of environmental aspects at Banverket.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier , 2007. Vol. 15, no 5, 385-394 p.
Keyword [en]
Environmental management system; Public organization; Sweden; Operation and maintenance
National Category
Other Civil Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-10113DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2005.11.017ISI: 000244134900001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-37849184976OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-10113DiVA: diva2:209078
Note
QC 20100729Available from: 2009-03-23 Created: 2009-03-23 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Monitoring as an instrument for improving environmental performance in public authorities: Experience from Swedish Infrastructure Management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Monitoring as an instrument for improving environmental performance in public authorities: Experience from Swedish Infrastructure Management
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
: Experience from Swedish Infrastructure Management
Abstract [en]

Monitoring is an important tool for gaining insight into an organisation’s environmental performance and for learning about the environmental condition and the effectiveness of environmental management measures. Development of environmental monitoring has generally relied on research aiming at improving monitoring methodology, technique or practice within a particular management tool. Little empirical research has taken into account the organisation’s reality where several management tools are used in parallel. This thesis analyses the practice of environmental monitoring in public authorities with the aim of identifying barriers and possibilities for environmental monitoring as an instrument for improving environmental performance, using the Swedish Rail Administration as a case organisation. The study identified two different types of environmental monitoring: environmental performance measurement (EPM) and activity monitoring, both important for achieving environmental improvements. EPM involves gathering and evaluating data to determine whether the organisation is meeting the criteria for environmental performance set by the management of the organisation. EPM can further be used for judging the success and failure of environmental objectives and strategies. Activity monitoring provides each project of the organisation with information to minimise the negative effects on the natural environment or human health and to ensure that the organisation’s operations conform with regulations.

Problems encountered comprised a variety of little co-ordinated monitoring activities, poor utilization of the monitoring results as well as limited internal feedback on monitoring results. Some of the problems identified seem to be an effect of the management transition from a traditional ‘command and control’ system to a self-administered organisation managed by economic incentives and voluntary management systems.

This thesis suggests several improvements to make monitoring more efficient. Primarily, the monitoring systems must have a clear structure and be adapted to its specific function. The EPE system would benefit from being integrated with the organisation’s central performance measurement, presenting progress towards organisational strategic objectives as well as operational objectives. The system for activity monitoring must not only focus on inputs and outputs to the system but must also include the environmental condition of the system. In order to improve communication and learning, monitoring data within both EPE and activity monitoring must be better transmitted and utilised within the structure of the permanent organisation. Experience from all monitoring activities that now is scattered and inaccessible to the individuals of the organisation could beneficially be stored within a well-structured organisational ‘memory‘. Such a system would facilitate an iterative management process where the monitoring results and the knowledge gained are used for making future plans and projects more adaptive, thereby improving the environmental performance of the organisation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2009. xiv,36 p.
Series
Trita-LWR. PHD, ISSN 1650-8602 ; 1048
Keyword
Environmental Management System (EMS); Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) follow-up; Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA); Environmental Performance Evaluation (EPE); organisational learning; Railway
National Category
Civil Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-10117 (URN)978-91-7415-265-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-04-17, F3, Lindstedtsväg 26, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100729Available from: 2009-03-24 Created: 2009-03-23 Last updated: 2010-07-29Bibliographically approved
2. Rail operation and maintenance in an environmental management system context
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Rail operation and maintenance in an environmental management system context
2005 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

The Swedish National Rail Administration, Banverket, has the overarching sector responsibility for Swedish railways, including a responsibility for implementing and managing the government decision for an ecologically sustainable development. In support of achieving ecologically sustainable development and fulfilment of the national environmental objectives and environmental legislation, Banverket initiated the implementation of an Environmental Management System (EMS) in 1998. The overall aim of this thesis is to examine the EMS applied at Banverket with regard to the identification and monitoring of environmental aspects at the administrative Railway Regions of Banverket. The analysis is based on a qualitative approach comprising questionnaires, interviews, document analysis and participating observations.

Areas for potential improvements are identified. A more stringent use of the EMS is needed in the organisation. Furthermore, a link between activity, aspect and impact when identifying environmental aspects would improve the procedure. Like in other public organisations, the monitoring of environmental aspects at Banverket is insufficient. Introducing indicators and integrating different Government requirements for environmental monitoring into one system, using EMS as a tool would make the system more effective. In the thsesis a framework is proposed for the identification of environmental aspects pertaining to operation and maintenance at Banverket. This framework has an input–output perspective and provides a clear connection between activity, aspect and impact. Furthermore, by establishing the framework on a system used mainly for environmental performance evaluation, a better connection between the identification and monitoring of aspects is created, possibly improving both processes. The framework for the identifica-tion of environmental aspects, as proposed in the thesis, could also be modified and applied in other organisations.

A major conclusion of the study is that the EMS applied at Banverket, in its present form, is not an effective environmental management tool for achieving ecologically sustainable development within the rail sector. Adapted methods for identification and monitoring of environmental aspects for public organisations such as Banverket would facilitate the application of EMS and increase its effectiveness as an environmental tool.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2005. vi, 16 p.
Series
Trita-LWR. LIC, ISSN 1650-8629 ; 2026
Keyword
EMS; environmental aspect; monitoring; public organisations; Banverket
National Category
Other Civil Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-248 (URN)91-7180-072-6 (ISBN)
Presentation
2005-05-17, 10:00
Note
QC 20101213Available from: 2005-05-31 Created: 2005-05-31 Last updated: 2010-12-13Bibliographically approved

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