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U.S., CANADA, MEXICO ENDORSE GUIDANCE ON ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
Release Date: 06/22/2000
FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, JUNE 22, 2000
U.S., CANADA, MEXICO ENDORSE GUIDANCE
ON ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
The United States, Canada and Mexico have agreed for the first time that voluntary Environmental Management Systems (EMS) designed for internal management purposes can also serve the broader public policy goals of compliance assurance and improved environmental performance in regulated and non-regulated areas throughout North America. On June 13, the environmental ministers of the three countries, in their annual council meeting as the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), endorsed this voluntary use of EMS as a way to improve environmental performance and move “beyond compliance.” The key elements are outlined in the guidance document, “Improving Environmental Performance and Compliance: 10 Elements of Effective Environmental Management Systems.” The elements are compatible with many EMS models currently in use. Included in its provisions are organizational environmental policy, objectives and targets, provision for adequate resources and training, document control, continuous evaluation and improvement. The document is not meant to be a new or competing system. Instead, it is intended to provide a simple way of checking whether an existing or planned EMS includes elements to help users meet public policy
needs of regulatory compliance and environmental performance that moves beyond compliance. While an EMS is an important internal management tool, it does not replace the regulatory system nor does its adoption constitute compliance. The CEC guidance was supported by the Multi-State Working Group on Environmental Management Systems (MSWG), a voluntary organization comprised of government representatives, numerous business and trade associations, and several environmental public interest organizations and universities. Further CEC information is available at: www.cec.org. The EMS guidance information is available at: www.epa.gov/oeca .