Effectiveness of environmental management systems (EMS) as an environmental management tool for local government in South Africa : the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality experience
An Environmental Management System (EMS) can be defined as "... a formal set of procedures and policies that define how an organization will manage its potential impacts on the natural environment and on the health and welfare of the people who depend on if (Andrews et al, 1999:2). In an effort to sustainably manage its own activities, products, services and facilities, various municipalities around the world have, in the past few years, started to follow the private sector trend and implemented the International Standards Organization (ISO) 14001 EMS voluntarily (Von Malmborg, 2003:1). Despite recent growth of EMS literature, evidence in terms of the effectiveness of EMS is still sparse, and little data exists on the effectiveness and benefits of an EMS (Edwards et al, 1999:36) especially in relation to local government. It's also possible that the potential benefits an EMS holds for an organization remains only "talk" and "paper commitments" (Andrews et al, 1999:2). The purpose of this research was to determine the effectiveness of ISO 14001 for local government with specific reference to the City of Tshwane (CoT). The research results suggest limited effectiveness of EMS. The main reasons for limited achievement of expected EMS benefits and thus its partial effectiveness were mainly identified as low commitment to environmental issues, insufficient resources, poor EMS implementation, low environmental awareness, ignorance and limiting internal procedures. This research concludes with recommendations to the CoT and municipalities in general to improve the overall effectiveness of its EMS.