An assessment of the effectiveness of management review as an ISO 14001:2004 continual improvement element : an Eskom distribution case study
Hlongwana, Nokhuthala Deligence
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Eskom Holdings SOC Limited (referred to as Eskom), a public state owned company, is required to continually demonstrate environmental duty of care and report on its environmental performance. In furthering its commitment to sustainable development and in line with environmental compliance of its activities, Eskom is planning to have the Distribution Division certified against the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) 14001:2004 environmental management system (EMS) standard by 2014. In general, management review may quickly turn into a dry review of the items on the agenda, done only to show an auditor the review was held. As such, the aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of management reviews as one of the key continual improvement elements of the ISO 14001:2004 environmental management system within Eskom Distribution: Western Region. This research has been designed to take place in three stages. These stages are planning, execution and publication, and preparing the dissertation for marking. The research methodology included a literature study on various national and international articles and journals on EMSs that relate to environmental performance. The databases of Eskom. Distribution: Western Region ‒ i.e. the management review presentation results for the 2008/09, 2009/10 and 2010/11 financial years, key significant environmental aspects for the Technical Service Centres (TSCs) and Minor/Major Engineering Works (MEW), key performance indicators (KPIs), Risk Audit System (RAS) results, and results of the external EMS audit conducted from 23–25 April 2007 were used for this research. Questionnaires were sent to the TSCs’ senior supervisors and Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) management. An analysis of the questionnaires completed by the TSC senior supervisors showed that all the participants have seen an improvement in environmental performance due to annual management reviews, except TSC11, who have not seen management review results. It can be concluded from the results of the SHEQ management questionnaires that an improvement (continual improvement as per the ISO 14001 requirement) was observed. The improvements were identified through improved processes, improved gap analysis, increased environmental awareness, and addressing risks. Most of the ISO 14001:2004 requirements for the management review for all financial years covered in this study were met. In terms of the objectives, targets and KPIs, Eskom Distribution: Western Region performed effectively and most of the outcomes were implemented according to the recommendations. Further, based on the external audit conducted from 23 to 25 April 2007, it is clear that Eskom Distribution: Western Region conformed to the minimum requirements of the ISO 14001:2004 EMS. Their management reviews also met all requirements of the ISO 14001:2004 relating to management review. This was proven by minutes of previous meetings that covered all the necessary issues that were audited. Thus, the existence of management reviews contributed towards ensuring that the ISO system was scrutinised and improved where it worked, and that aspects that did not work well were removed.