The UK packaging regulations and performance measures in environmental management systems
The measurement of industries' environmental performance is evolving as society strives towards the ideal of sustainability. Environmental performance indicators within different industries are being developed in order that industry can measure and evaluate performance and report on their level of environmental protection to different stakeholders. Although there are many studies of environmental performance measures, they have tended to focus on those that apply to manufacturing or 'dirtier' industries. This is mainly because environmental legislation, a major driver of environmental programmes in companies, has targeted these industries. Recent legislation on packaging has focused, for the first time, on environmental impacts that are pertinent to all industry sectors alike. This has given rise to an industry-wide set of environmental performance measures for packaging and packaging waste. This 'producer responsibility' legislation has marked the turning point as more legislation is formulated at the European and national level to holistically tackle the environmental impacts of product life-cycles. Current research has concentrated on the development of performance measures for a service-orientated business that is subject to legislation concerning packaging waste, using ICL (International Computers Limited) plc. as a case study example. Particular attention has been given, in this research, to the identification of EPIs and their integration into an ISO 14Q01 certifiable environmental management system for the purposes of demonstrating continuous improvement. A risk assessment methodology is applied to demonstrate the effects of business constraints in the decision-making process regarding environmental programmes. The impacts of the UK Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 on the organisation and the necessary steps that the-company has had to take in order to comply with the legislation have been examined. From this study a compliance methodology has been developed and it has been demonstrated how an organisation can achieve compliance and conserve valuable resources for improving its environmental performance. Finally, a survey has been carried out in order to assess the impacts of the UK Packaging Regulations on the environmental performance of industry. From this study a model has been developed for the application of EPIs to guide policy makers in the formulation of environmental legislation and the implications for future producer responsibility legislation.