Environmental protection concepts
Awareness of ecological responsibility is a natural part of the catalog of values of many companies in Switzerland. The facets here range from material and energy procurement to optimized production processes and waste management.
Environmental protection concept: The most important in brief
Environmental protection concepts in companies and organizations can include the following sub-aspects:
- Certified environmental management systems (ISO 14001): Declaration of a company-wide and internationally recognized standard in environmental protection
- Cleaner Production Approaches: Recording and evaluation of optimization opportunities in the area of material and resource consumption and waste management
- Certified Energy Management Systems (ISO 50001): Declaration of a company-wide and internationally recognized standard in the field of energy efficiency
- Compliance with the obligations as a large consumer: Knowledge and use of the opportunities arising simultaneously with the obligations to promote energy efficiency by the relevant bodies
- Legal certainty in national environmental protection:maintaining active evidence that applicable Swiss law is complied with and that procedures for systematic updating and review are in place
- Legal certainty in European environmental protection:consideration and follow-up of environmental law applicable in the trade of goods with the EU
Why is an environmental protection concept needed?
The implementation of environmental protection concepts basically generates benefits that are both externally and internally oriented:
- Externally: Cooperation with interested parties (society, legislators, banks and insurance companies, partners and suppliers) by promoting image and trust.
- Internal: significant cost savings and positive effect on the relationship with employees
While compliance with legal requirements is a matter of course for maintaining business operations, active proof of legal compliance additionally protects against recourse claims and sanctions. The knowledge of the relevant requirements in the market environment and their future development creates planning security and the preservation of the marketability of their own products and services.
Legislative basis environmental protection concepts
The following laws and ordinances are relevant in the context of environmental protection concepts:
- Federal Chemicals Act (ChemG) with four ordinances
- Federal Environmental Protection Act (USG) with fifteen ordinances
- Federal Water Protection Act (GSchG) with one ordinance
- Radiation Protection Act (StSG) with two ordinances
- CO2-.Act (CO2-G) with one ordinance
- Energy Act (EnG) with three ordinances
To these laws and ordinances of the federal government, the corresponding cantonal decrees and implementation rules are to be observed, which partly contain deviating and stricter requirements.
What does an environmental protection concept consist of?
The environmental concepts have a different degree of penetration:
- Certified management systems and implementations for legal compliance in environmental protection (national and international):across organizations and sites, affect all management, value creation and supporting processes of the organization, as well as all employees of the organization
- Cleaner Production approaches and approaches of large consumers: affect selected management, value-added and supporting processes of the organization, for example, management, development and design, purchasing, infrastructure, production, transportation, etc..
All concepts have in common that a systematic and verifiable planning and implementation. Further, goals are set and the effectiveness of the measures aligned with them are measured. In addition, the results are analyzed and improved by further measures depending on the result.
Who needs to deal with it?
To be demonstrably legally compliant is a requirement of ISO 14001 and concerns all companies and organizations that are seeking or have obtained ISO 14001 certification.
Companies that have entered into a target agreement with the federal government or canton to increase energy efficiency are advantageously applying the principles and procedures of ISO 50001, although often without the intention of certification, as this generates little additional benefit in Switzerland.
An ISO certification in the area of environment or energy is an additional, internationally recognized proof of performance, which creates a profile compared to competitors in bidding processes.
Cleaner Production concepts can be applied by all companies and organizations, regardless of location, size or industry. They are less focused on external impact and have a particular effect on increasing the efficiency of service delivery.
Target group: Topics of legal certainty in environmental protection are basically relevant for all companies and organizations - regardless of location, size or industry.
Who in the company is responsible for this?
The introduction of environmental concepts is basically always a management decision.
The implementation then takes place in each case in the company and mainly concerns process owners and special functions, such as those responsible for the environment, those responsible for maintenance and servicing, quality managers, etc.
How does SBIS support?
SBIS experts support companies and organizations in all areas of the aforementioned environmental concepts and thus help to generate the desired benefits.
In principle, companies and organizations can solve these tasks themselves, but usually lack the necessary resources and competencies to do so. Building up the competencies is a long-lasting process.
Therefore, it is often advantageous to use the competencies already available at SBIS experts and to benefit from the many years of experience of these experts. This is particularly advantageous when the estimated time horizon for achieving the goals is short.
- SBIS experts help to set up and maintain the management systems to ensure that the respective ISO certificates are maintained. This is done during set-up through training, provision of template documents (e.g. on: Environmental Impact Assessment, environmental objectives with critical success factors, templates for management reviews, etc.) and review of existing documents for standard compliance.
- To ensure the receipt of certificates, internal management system audits (standard requirement) are performed and documented in reports the status of standard compliance and opportunities for improvement.
- Responsible persons in environmental protection receive training on the environmental management system, through which they are enabled to competently perform their duties in the field of environmental protection.
- All the aforementioned laws and ordinances at the level of federal legislation and cantonal enactments are reviewed by SBIS experts quarterly to ensure that they are up to date. Changes are documented so that newly added, amended or repealed decrees compared to the previous situation and the relevance for the respective affected parties become visible.
- The customers are informed accordingly and can perform the review of legal compliance with the help of the SBIS experts. For this purpose, the customer-specific lists are checked for completeness and accuracy and via on-site tours the procedures for legal compliance.
- Another group of customers (eg certifiers from Germany) receives training on Swiss environmental law, which enables them to carry out their activities as auditors in Switzerland.
- Questions about European environmental law (REACH, RoHS, WEEE, etc.) are dealt with by SBIS experts, answered or discussed and clarified in seminars with those concerned.
Cleaner production and energy efficiency
- Over site tours, potentials for cost savings are collected, evaluated and documented. These are topics of material and energy use and waste treatment.
- The surveyed potential for improvement in the energy sector also serve to possibly meet commitments entered into via target agreements. Thus, painful sanctions are avoided in the event of missed targets.
- In addition, indications of funding opportunities in the energy efficiency sector are given and thus investments are stimulated. Responsible persons are sensitized and empowered regarding these issues via training.