In 2001, Avrom Bendavid-Val, a Chemonics environmental management expert, and Nicholas Cheremisinoff, a Chemonics consulting environmental engineer, broke new ground by presenting the “how-to” of environmental management systems (EMSs) and pollution prevention (P2) in a single volume titled Green Profits: The Manager’s Handbook for ISO 14001 and Pollution Prevention (Butterworth-Heinemann).
Arguing that P2 approaches are at the heart of sound environmental management systems, Green Profits established a framework for environmental managers and a precedent in the industry.
Bendavid-Val and Cheremisinoff take the next step in a second book that demonstrates, in easy-to-follow terms, how to fully integrate P2 with an EMS. Titled Achieving Environmental Excellence: Integrating P2 and EMS to Increase Profits, and published in 2002 by Government Institutes Inc., the new book reflects the authors’ findings from recent work with polluting manufacturing plants.
For the past 10 years, Bendavid-Val has served as both a manager and a technical expert and trainer on projects designed to reduce pollution from factories in the former Soviet Union, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. His P2 approach has focused on reducing or eliminating pollution in the production process.
It is an approach dictated by logic, for pollution prevention means less pollution, less waste, greater efficiency, and ultimately lower corporate costs. By contrast, dealing with pollution through “end-of-pipe” treatment methods increases production costs and only changes the form of the pollution — from a liquid to a sludge, or from airborne particles to solid waste, for example. With end-of-pipe treatment methods, the factory has to pay even more to dispose of the waste in its new form.
"Early payoffs from P2 efforts can generate quick successes and financial returns that can in turn help finance a company’s EMS,” says Bendavid-Val. “Time and again we see that emphasizing pollution prevention rather than end-of-pipe treatment makes sense to those companies that otherwise considered environmental standards nuisances and responsible environmental behavior a luxury.”
Green Profits demonstrated how a company can establish a productive EMS and subsequently use P2 techniques to address the environmental problems revealed by the EMS so that both the environment and the company profit. Achieving Environmental Excellence goes further. In clear language, supporting illustrations, and case studies, the new book sets out the authors’ argument that making pollution prevention a major and integral part of an environmental management system from the outset — rather than a means of addressing pollution problems uncovered by an EMS — is key to increasing profitability and sustainability, while minimizing the risk of environmental liability.
The argument is framed by a preponderance of evidence gathered over many years of consulting. Primarily devoted to providing a programmatic framework and concrete tools for integrating EMS and P2, Achieving Environmental Excellence also shows how an integrated EMS/P2 program can improve a plant’s efficiency and product quality, reduce costs for waste management and environmental compliance, create a “continual environmental performance improvement loop,” and serve as a basis for ISO 14001 certification.