Management system guidance
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5.1 EMS leadership and commitment
You should seek and record evidence that Top management is taking a ‘hands-on’ approach to the management of the EMS. Be prepared to constructively challenge Top management’s commitment to the EMS. Auditing this tier of management is likely to be a new experience for many people, so it is important that you have a good understanding of management activities in order to effectively engage with them.
Top management is now required to emphasize the importance of conforming to the EMS requirements. Additionally, it must also ensure that the EMS is achieving its intended results, and that continual improvement is driven within the organization. If it is evident that the Top management is not involved with the EMS, a major non-conformance is likely.
Auditors should look for evidence that top management has a ‘hands-on’ approach to the management of their EMS during interviews and auditing other requirements e.g. Context of the organization, policies and objectives, Management review minutes, Resources etc. Evidence of Top management involvement may be found in:
- Business strategy plans and meetings;
- Environmental goals and communications;
- Information provided on the organization’s website;
- Annual reports;
- Management meeting minutes.
Management involvement must now be demonstrated and cannot be simply confined to annual management reviews. Auditors should ensure that they are well prepared to interview the Top management in respect of their commitment to their EMS. A good understanding of management-related processes and language used by Top management can be helpful to engage with management on a range of issues.
Without solid management commitment, you will not have a successful environmental management system. This is not a commitment in words; it is the continuous and active demonstration to everyone in the organization that the need to meet customers' expectations is vital. The actions required of Top management must include:
- Supporting EMS and actively promote the agenda;
- Encouraging the goal of meeting, customer, regulatory and statutory requirements.
Develop and support the EMS by:
- Defining and communicate the EMS policies;
- Establishing organizational EMS objectives;
- Ensuring appropriate resources are available.
Implement and improve the EMS by:
- Encouraging employees to achieve requirements;
- Reviewing EMS performance;
- Ensuring resources are available to improve the EMS.
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