Environmental Management System In Small And Medium Scale Companies In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Environmental Science

Environmental Management System In Small And Medium Scale Companies In Nigeria


Environmental Management System refers to management of an organization’s environmental programs in a comprehensive, systematic, planned and documented manner. It includes the organizational structure, planning and resources for developing, implementing and maintaining policy for environmental protection. It is not surprising that collectively, SMEs also have major The increasing demands for consideration of the environmental impacts may result in SMEs being required to at least consider environmental management systems implementation based on standards such as the ISO 14001 series, developed by the International Organization for Standardization. In this situation, an EMS may be considered both a cost and a benefit to the organization.

The aim and objective of this project work is to study the Environmental Management Systems in small and medium scale companies using Lagos as a case study. Five small and medium scale companies namely: Ulysses, Regency Overseas, Onward Paper mill, Techno Oil Ltd and VGC Water were used for this project research. Questionnaires were administered to the management staff and employees below the management level of the selected companies and the two selected regulators-SON and LASEPA. The findings obtained from the survey carried out on the companies indicated that these companies were not yet Environmental Management System (ISO14001) certified.

This study therefore recommends that Environmental Management Systems should be implemented in SMEs because the integration of EMSs into a company process of activities will help to support environmental sustainability and also help the companies to reduce their resource consumption of water, electricity, heat energy and discharge of waste. This research work is made up of five chapters.

  • Chapter One dealt with the introduction to the subject matter;
  • Chapter Two examined the conceptual ad theoretical framework to the study;
  • Chapter Three stated the methodology used in carrying out the research work;
  • Chapter Four covered the discussion of findings and results obtained from the survey.
  • Lastly and Chapter Five concluded on the whole research work and recommendations were drawn from the results obtained from the survey findings.

Chapter One


1.1 Definition of Environment:

Environment, according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English means surrounding. This definition fails to mention the extent of the surrounding is made up of. The environment, in fact, includes everything living and non living: air, water, land animals and plants among others.

The environment also involves the ways living and non-living objects interact as well as what result from such interactions. Birds, for example, interact with rocks either by perching on them, or the building of nests in rock crevices. The environment and humanity are inseparable; this underscores the need for the conservation of the environment and sustainable development. From the above definition of ‘Environment’, one can see clearly that environment means much, much more than one’s compound or school premises or one’s village.

What does pollution means? Pollution is simply defined as the poisoning of the air, the land and the seas.

Now, degradation. The degradation of the environment means the wearing down of the environment by various processes such as the action of water, wind, ice or erosion.

By conservation of the environment we mean the preservation and protection of the environment against pollution and degradation.

In its report “Our Common Future”, the World Commission on Environment and Development, defined economic growth as necessary for sustainable development. But commission noted that growth alone is not enough, since high levels of productivity and widespread poverty do coexist and endanger the environment. Agenda 21 recognized that the private sector plays a major role in achieving sustainable development, both by fostering economic growth and by reducing environmental impact. The challenges for business and industries is to provide environmentally sustainable growth; they must devise strategies to maximize added value while minimizing resources and energy use. The need for clean, equitable economic growth remains the biggest single difficulty within the larger challenge of sustainable development.

Business in industrialized nations has begun to move from a pollution of limiting pollution and waste only in compliance with government regulations towards one of avoiding pollution and waste not just to be good corporate citizens but also to be more efficient and competitive. In response, the economies of the industrialized countries have grown even though the resources and energy to produce each unit of growth have declined.

Eco efficiency requires not only challenges in technology, but also in management; such issues as changes in the objectives and assumptions that direct corporate activities, and in the day-to-day practices used to reach those objectives. Managing for the environment is not a new idea but a systematic approach to it is now being developed.

The forthcoming ISO 14000 SERIES sets standards for corporate environmental management on an international level. These standards have been set not by some international regulatory body, but with the full participation of the private sector who will implement them. One of several advantages the standards will bring is the creation of a more environmentally sensitive industrial culture, which will result in a more efficient use of raw and waste material, reduction of emissions and increased investment in pollution control abatement and cleaner technologies.

1.2 The Need for Environmental Management Systems (EMS)

An environmental management system (EMS) is interpreted as the organizational structure, including practices, processes, resources and responsibilities for implementing environmental management. Such a system should enable organizations to achieve and demonstrate on-going compliance with regulations. It should allow organizations to control the environmental impact of all activities, products and services taking into account the environmental impact of all activities, products and services taking into account a self-determined environment.

The need for Environmental Management System are:

  1. Organisation and facilities are increasingly aware of the need to achieve and demonstrate sound environmental performance by controlling the different aspects and the significant impacts of their activities, products or services on the environment. They do so in the context of increasingly stringent legislation, the development of economic policies and other measures to foster environmental protection, and a growing of concern from interested parties about the threats of industrialization to sustainable development.
  2. Many Organisations have undertaken environmental ‘’reviews’’ or ‘’audits’’ to assess their environmental performance. On their own, however, these ‘’reviews’’ or ‘’audits’’ may not be sufficient to provide an Organisation with the assurance that its performance not only meets, but will continue to meet its legal and policy requirements. To be effective, they need to be conducted within a structured management system and integrated with overall management activity.
  3. The Environmental Performance of an Organisation is of increasing importance to internal and external interested parties. Achieving sound environmental performance requires Organisational commitment to a systematic approach and to continual improvement of the environment.
  4. An EMS provides order and consistency through the allocation of resources, assignment of responsibilities, and continuous evaluation of practices, procedures and processes. An EMS is therefore: part of the enterprises enterprise’s overall management system. It includes the organizational structure, planning activities, practices, procedures, processes, and resources for implementing and maintaining environmental management. It includes those aspects of management that plan, develop pment, implement, achieve, review. Maintain and improve the companies environmental policy, objectives and targets.

1.3 The Objectives of Environmental Management Systems

The objective of installing an EMS by organizations is mainly to ensure continual improvement through the life of a facility or facilities in the management system of the organization. Specifically, an Environmental Management System is intended to help the organisation to:

  1. Achieve its environmental policy, objectives and targets, including compliance with environmental legislation.
  2. Identify and control the environmental aspect, impacts and risks relevant to the organization.
  3. Define a basic set of principles that guide the organization to its environmental responsibilities in the future.
  4. Establish short, medium and long –term goals for environmental performance, and ensuring costs and benefits analysis, for the organization and for its various shareholders and stakeholders.
  5. Determine what resources are needed to achieve those goals, assign responsibilities for them and commit the necessary resources.
  6. Define and document specific tasks responsibilities, authorities and procedures to ensure that every employee acts in the course of their his/her work to help minimize or eliminate the organisation’s negative impact on the environment.
  7. Communicate the organisation’s environmental policies, objectives and targets and procedures to all employees and to third parties who may be affected by these policies.
  8. Measure performance against pre-agreed standards and goals, and modify the approach as necessary.

1.4 The Core Elements of the Environmental Management System

Environmental Management Systems will be different for different types of organizations, depending on the nature, size and complexity of activities, products and services. However, all Environmental Management Systems have a number of core elements in common. The core elements include but are not limited to the following:

  • Environmental Policy
  • Initial Environmental Review
  • Environmental Action Plan
  • Organisational Structure and Management Responsibilities
  • Documentation and Communication
  • Training
  • Management Review
a. The Environmental Policy
  1. Environmental policy expresses the commitment of senior management to appropriate environmental management. It should not be a once –and-for-all document. The aim of the policy shall be to maintain and potentially improve environmental performance. It is to form the basis upon which objectives and target are set. It should reflects the commitment of top management to comply with relevant environmental legislative and other requirements; and for continual improvement
  2. Fundamentally, an environmental policy shall
    1. Contain a broad statement of intent
    2. Be appropriate to production activities and products and services.
    3. Make provision for commitment to continual improvement.
    4. Make clear the procedure of preventing pollution.
    5. State commitment to comply with legislation, regulation and other regulatory requirements.
    6. Provide frame work for setting and reviewing environmental targets and objectives.
    7. Be documented, implemented and maintained.
    8. Be made available to appropriate regulatory authority and any other interested party.
    9. Be made public.
b. Initial Environmental Review (IER)
  1. In order to achieve success, an early step in developing and improving an EMS involves obtaining commitment of the top management of an organization. An organization that has no EMS in place or that has not conducted an IER. The aim of such a review should be to identify all environmental aspects and/or impacts of its activities, products and services. Also, the aim of an initial review is to establish a facility’s current performance level in the Ems with the view to formulate an articulated environmental policy.
  2. To carry out a thorough review, a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the production processes or services from ‘’cradle- to-grave’’ is imperative. The LCA should examine the different aspects and possible significant impacts of all inputs at all stages of production or services to its eventual disposal.
  3. An IER shall consider normal operating conditions, shutdown and startup condition including realistic potential significant aspects and impacts that could be associated with reasonably foreseeable or emergency situations.
  4. The process of identifying significant environmental aspects shall where appropriate, consider any or all of the following.
    1. Human health
    2. Air and Water quality
    3. Waste Management
    4. Contamination of Land
    5. Use of raw materials and natural resources.
    6. Fundamentally, an IER shall address the following:
    7. Identification of relevant legislation’s, regulations and other regulatory requirements.
    8. Identification, evaluation and documentation of significant environmental aspects of its activities, products or services.
    9. Evaluation of existing management practices and procedures.
    10. All other elements of feedback from the investigations of previous incidents.
  5. The IER Report shall contain the following essential elements:-
    1. Introduction/ context of review
    2. Scope of review
    3. Issues and objectives
    4. Methodology
    5. Information resources
    6. Summary of findings
    7. Identification of corrective action plan and the time-frame for its implementation
    8. Resources requirement for implementation
    9. Conclusion
  6. ER shall be carried out at least once annually except there is a certificate of exemption from FEPA.
  7. IER shall be carried out by one or all of the following persons or groups of persons.
    1. A competent Environmental Monitoring Team
    2. Competent and certified employee(s) in each of the production stages and/or services
    3. Accredited FEPA consultants.
c. Environmental Action Plan
  1. An environmental action plan shall translate the environmental policies into objectives and targets; and identities activities to achieve them, defines employees responsibilities and commit the necessary human and financial resources for implementation. The action plan should rely on or use the assembled overview of the environmental aspects and legal regulatory requirements. The objectives and targets of an action plan shoulb be:
    1. Specific
    2. Ambitious
    3. Realistic and achievable
    4. Time-bound
  2. The action plan shall address the following:
    1. Objectives and targets
    2. Identity activities to accomplish set objectives and targets
    3. Identity and implement steps taken to achieve set objectives and targets
    4. Define and delegates roles and responsibilities
    5. Provide material and human resources
    6. Identify relevant regulations, guidelines and other regulatory requirements relevant to operation.
d. Organisation Structures and Management Responsibilities
  1. The organisational structure of a facilities shall contain the flow of authority, responsibilities and interrelationships of all those in the organization to effect the proper functioning of the EMS.
  2. The responsibilities of the organizational management shall include but not limited to:
    1. Establishing and maintaining EMS with the commitment of the chief executive/managing director.
    2. Providing all resources needed for the implementation of the EMS. This shall include human, financial, material, technology and spe b ,cialized skills.
    3. Appointing an Environmental Manager who should have at least a formal training in environmental management and technology. The Environmental Manager shall
      1. Ensure that EMS requirements are established, implemented and maintained in accordance with this National Guideline.
      2. Report back to management on the performance of the EMS for the purposes of review and for evaluation to ensure continual improvement.
    4. Constituting an Environmental committee. The committee shall include all cadres of staff.
  3. Also management shall integrate EMS into business operation by:
    1. Establishing, documenting and maintaining a procedure for integrating the EMS into the day-to-day business operation of the organisation. This shall include provision for awareness training, internal communication, documentation, document control, risk assessment, emergency preparedness and response, planning and response to complaint from external and other interested parties.

The procedures shall incorporate environmental measures into protection of workers, purchasing, research and development, product development, marketing, finance etc.

1.2 Research Problem

The field of strategy has evolved substantially in the past twenty-five years. Small scale enterprises have learned to analyze their competitive environment, define their position, develop competitive and corporate advantages, and understand threats to sustaining advantage in the face of challenging competitive threats. To survive in a dynamic and highly competitive business environment, different organizations have had to engage various strategies to survive. Drivers such as globalization, deregulation, and technological change just to mention a few are profoundly changing the competitive game.

In determining the reasons as to why organizations opt for environmental proactivity with the ISO 14001 certification, various authors and researchers have identified the various reasons for implementing certification initiatives. This review of literature presents several studies that suggest that small and medium scale companies implementing ISO 14001 certificates are externally motivated to do so. In fact, the studies found that majority of the companies implement ISO 14001 because either they want to stay customer focused or because regulatory and other bodies require them to do so. Boiral and others (1998) considered that the decision to implement ISO 14001 responds to the search for rigor and effectiveness in environmental management, improved control of human behaviors and work methods, and better relations with the socioeconomic environment. Morrow and others (2002) provide a longer list of potential motivations for environmental certification by incorporating reasons such as the search for improved environmental performance, better compliance with regulations, cost savings, improved image, competitive advantages, or increased efficiency. Many of these motivations also turn out to be the reasons some companies have for choosing ISO 14001 instead of another type of certification (Del Brio et al, 2001).

In another piece of research, Quazi and colleagues (2001) argue eight potential motivations: concern of top management for the environment, cost savings, assurance of employee welfare, compliance with environmental regulations, satisfaction of customers’ expectations, reduction of trade barriers, follow-up of corporate practices, and ISO 14001 adoption by competitors. According to Bansal and others (2000) there are three basic environmental motivations. These three types have been here renamed as ethical, competitive and relational motivations. Ethical motivations respond to a feeling of ecological responsibility, competitive motivations arise from the search for competitive advantage, and relational motivations emerge from the desire to achieve legitimization and better relationships with stakeholders. Thus, they are respectively rooted in the beliefs that environmental management practices can contribute to ecological sustainability, can generate competitive advantage, or can improve relationships with the socioeconomic environment. Almost all studies involving motivation of companies adopting ISO 14001 standards to date have supported the hypothesis that the more companies participate in the international market, the higher the ISO participation rates.

From the foregoing literature, it is clear that there are promising outcomes associated with environmental proactivity and, in particular, with the ISO14001 certification. However, most of these studies are not local and have been done in developed nations and such factors identified may not be similar to those in Nigeria. It is in the light of this that the study therefore seeks to fill this gap by conducting a research on the factors affecting the implementation of environmental management system ISO 14001 certification in a paper manufacturing company by answering the following research question: What are the factors that influenced Allpack enterprise to implement an environmental management system ISO 14001 certification?

1.3 Research Objective

  1. Identify the environment management system practiced in Allpack enterprise.
  2. Identify the factors affecting environment management in Allpack enterprise.
  3. Investigate the performance of environment management system in Allpack enterprise.

1.4 Research question

  1. What is the environment management system practised in Allpack enterprise?
  2. What are the factors affecting environment management in Allpack enterprise?
  3. What is the performance of environment management system in Allpack enterprise?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This research study is important, as it gives an insight into the factors that influence implementation of environmental management system ISO 14001 certification. As a result, the management of Allpack may use the findings of this research in developing programs aimed at improving on the benefits related to environmental management system ISO 14001 certification. This would enable the organization improve in its effort in meeting the company’s goals and objectives and, ultimately, contribute to the better performance of the company’s bottom line.

The findings of this research helps managers in other paper packaging industries to better understand and address issues associated with environmental management system ISO 14001 certification and raise awareness on the benefits paper packaging industries such as Allpack can achieve by implementing environmental management system ISO 14001 as a business strategy to achieve profitability and growth.

This study contributes to the existing knowledge on factors influencing implementation of environmental management system ISO 14001 certification by forming a source of empirical literature for students and other researchers conducting studies in related areas.

1.6 Limitation of the Study

The time frame for this study has made it impossible for the researcher to sample a larger population because it has to be conducted and submitted within a stipulated time. This is the reason why the study was limited to Allpack enterprise.

1.7 Organization of the Study

The study comprises of five chapters.

  • Chapter one consists of the background to the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, objectives, research questions, significance, limitation of the study, delimitation of the study, basic assumptions, definitions of key terms and organization of the study.
  • Chapter two comprises of literature review theoretical and conceptual frameworks.
  • Chapter three deals with research methodology, covering research sampling, procedures, research instruments and their validity and reliability, procedures for data collection and data analysis.
  • Chapter four comprises of findings and discussions which were generated by the study.
  • Chapter five presents summary, conclusions and recommendations.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

This chapter details the summary of key findings, discussions and conclusions drawn from the study as set out in the previous chapter. Lastly, the researcher gives recommendations on the study area, limitations and suggestions for further research.

5.2 Summary of Findings

The purpose of this study was to investigate what factors influenced Allpack enterprise to acquire environmental management system certification. The ensuing discussion majors on the findings of the study against the backdrop of the objectives this study was designed to achieve.The research instrument was an interview guide with open ended questions developed based on a review of the literature on the implementation of the Environmental Management system ISO 14001. Seven respondents working in the organisation being studied were interviewed. Qualitative data from the open-ended questions was analyzed using content analysis and presented through narratives.

The study found out that the role of top management was the most critical factor that influenced Allpack enterprise Limited to acquire ISO 14001 Certification. The study found out that for the success of the system, the top management must demonstrate commitment by availing resources necessary for certification and supporting the team responsible for the certification process.

The study revealed that some large corporate clients of Allpack enterprise Limited had set ISO 14001 certification as a prerequisite in order to be considered as a supplier. In order for Allpack to do business with such clients, they had to go for environmental management system ISO 14001 certification so that they can improve their chances of being a preferred supplier in those organizations.

The study also found out that organizations like National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Machakos County Government officers have been visiting the organization to conduct environmental audits. As a result in order to demonstrate its commitment to complying with NEMA and the county government’s laws on environment, and avoid unnecessary friction with the authorities, Allpack enterprise Limited acquired ISO 14001 Certification to show the organization’s commitment beyond compliance when it came to environmental matters.

The study showed that Allpack’s main raw material is paper manufactured from trees. As a result to demonstrate that the organization cares for the environment from which it draws its raw material, they acquired the ISO 14001 Certification to demonstrate to suppliers and customers that they are concerned with the protection of the environment and would also wish them to do likewise and come up with sustainable measures to ensure protection of the environment.

The respondents cited other factors, although they were not indicated to be critical in influencing ISO 14001 Certification decision but which the researcher found it worthy citing. These include perceived benefits associated with having proper environmental management system in place which could lead to reduced cost of on waste management and energy saving to mention and effort by Allpack to fulfill its corporate social responsibility was also cited as to have to some extent influenced implementation of ISO 14001.

5.3 Conclusions

This study had one main objective; to determine what factors influenced Allpack enterprise to acquire environmental management system ISO 14001 certification. It can be concluded that a number of factors influenced Allpack enterprise Limited to adopt and implement the environmental management system ISO 14001 in the organisation. These factors are both internal and external. Initiatives are taken by management in creating and sustaining a climate within the small and medium scale companies that motivates employees in their implementation role with managers paying as much attention to planning the implementation of their strategies as they give to formulating them. The strategy implementation practices employed by Allpack enterprise Limited were understanding customer expectation and marketing research. The other factors leading to successful ISO 14001 implementation at Allpack enterprise Limited, are strong management roles in implementation, good communication, commitment to the strategy awareness, understanding of the strategy, aligned organizational systems and resources, good coordination and sharing of responsibilities.

The study establishes that the role of the top management was considered by all the respondents to be the most critical factor that influenced Allpack to acquire ISO 14001 certification. Top management set out the agenda for the organisation and ensured that this was realized through committing resources. Another factor that was rated highly by the respondents as influential in the adoption and eventual implementation of ISO 14001 was the organisation’s need to improve its market position. Factors such as perceived benefits and organisation corporate social responsibility were found to be the least factors which influenced the organization to go for ISO 14001 certification.

5.4 Recommendations

The current study has attempted to link the role of the top management and successful implementation of ISO 14001 and thereby afsmall and medium scale companiesing the same. One of the major findings of this research study is that the role of the top management positively influenced ISO 14001 implementation. Based on the findings of this research study, it can also be said that nearly every organization relies on the support of the top management to succeed. If an idea is supported by the top management, it is likely to receive support from implementation team down to the level of operation workers. Therefore, manufacturing industries should sponsor their senior managers to attend environmental forums so that the management can appreciate environmental matters and hence support any implementations of environmental initiatives such as ISO 14001 certification in the organizations.

The study reveals that there is a strong link between ISO 14001 certification and the need to improve the organizations market position. Respondents indicated that some clients were demanding that Allpack should have ISO 14001 certification in order for them to do business with the organization and as a result Allpack acquired ISO 14001 certification. Therefore in order for Allpack to take advantage of ISO certifications in its effort to improve its market position, the researcher recommends that the management of Allpack do extensive market research on which certifications that its clients would be interested in. After this is done, the organization should then invest resources for their implementations and use the ISO certifications as a bargaining tool to solicit for job orders.

The study also reveals that stakeholders in environmental matters such as NEMA and Machakos County Government were paying close attention in monitoring environmental pollution in their areas of jurisdiction. Any likelihood of environmental pollution by an organization within this area would attract disciplinary action from these bodies. As a result in order for Allpack to demonstrate to environmental stakeholders that it is serious in ensuring compliance, it had to go an extra mile by acquiring ISO 14001 Certification so as to avoid any disputes arising from non-compliance. Based on these findings therefore, the researcher recommends that Allpack should also invest in certification on occupational health and safety management system so that it can also improve its relationship with Directorate of Occupational Health and Safety inspectors.

This study establishes that there is a very strong link between ISO 14001 certification and the concern by the top management for the protection of the environment. As a result, in order to ensure continual improvement in environmental conservation programs in the organization, the researcher recommends that the training manager of Allpack should liaise with external organizations which provide training on environmental matters and organize for Allpack senior managers to attend so as to increase their awareness on emerging issues on environmental management.

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