An analysis of the operational value of the environmental management systems (ISO14001:2004) implemented at selected underground platinum mines in South Africa
Tyira, Tshegofatso Windy
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ISO 14001 is the specification and guideline providing the framework for the establishment of the EMS. It was first published in September 1996 and updated in November 2004. It was developed by ISO, a Geneva-based NGO that promotes the development and implementation of international standards (Darnall, 2001:2). EMS is part of the organisation’s management system used to develop and implement its environmental policy and manage its environmental impacts (ISO 14001, 2004:2). In South Africa there is no legal requirement for EMSs to be put into place, other than where it may have been made a condition of a permit or licence application. All Underground Platinum Mines are required to develop, document, implement, maintain and review their EMS, which should be certified toISO14001:2004 (AEW, 2009:13). The problem is that the implementation of an EMS is associated with a number of shortcomings and may be seen as a paper exercise to satisfy the needs of external auditors during audits with no particular value accruing to the organisation. The aim of the research was to determine the operational value of the ISO 14001 EMS at selected Underground Platinum Mines. A structured survey-based research study was conducted among employees in three different operations within Underground Platinum Mine. This included literature and case studies review, interviews with key EMS implementers and distribution of questionnaires to those employees involved with the EMS implementation. The main aim of the research has been achieved and all the research sub-questions were answered. The study concludes that the ISO 14001 EMS as implemented at Underground Platinum Mine is not merely a paper exercise but has an operational value.