A generic framework for promoting the implementation of environmental management systems at local government level in South Africa
Kruger, Rudolf Andre
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Global environmental problems have been manifesting themselves at such an alarming rate, that the international community decided at the Rio Conference in 1992 that these global problems must inter aha also be attended to at local government level. However, local governments in South Africa are faced with huge service delivery backlogs and limited financial resources, and these institutions need a motivational force to convince them to pay more attention to environmental issues in their daily operations. This motivational force is required despite the fact that existing legislation in South Africa already contain a host of requirements for environmental management at municipal level. This dissertation describes how municipalities can use The Natural Step framework as a motivational tool to raise their councils' awareness of the global environmental problems, and how to take steps to implement a system that will help them become sustainable organizations that function in an environmentally correct manner. In the process municipalities will enhance their primary function, namely to demonstrate responsible governance to their residents and being able to lead their communities by example. The steps taken by the municipalities with regard to responsible governance and implementation of environmental management systems will save them money, thereby enabling them to have more financial resources available to spend on critical issues like housing and infrastructure. The environmental management system that is advocated to be used by municipalities is the IS0 14001 standard, developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation. Emphasis is placed on how the use of The Natural Step Framework can enhance the implementation of this system, thereby creating benefits for the municipality, while at the same time transforming the organization into a learning organization that is working towards a vision of becoming sustainable.