Does ISO 14000 Series Reinforce Intergovernmental Environmental Agreements or Advance Trends in Sustainable Industrial Development?
As a management tool, environmental management systems are a rather new creation. In the 1980s, businesses began to figure out how to organise themselves in response to their ecological, public and legal obligations. By the 1990s, leading firms were continuing to develop and enlarge their environmental management systems. Several new issues became synonymous with leading global environmental policy and practice. International industry associations and many global firms made commitments in their environmental policies to sustainable development, the precautionary principle and community involvement. Many began to explore how to create and impose global corporate-wide environment and sustainable development standards while being sensistive to local ecosystems. Others started to produce public environmental reports. With the advent of the internet, firms are now beginning to post their environmental policies and reports on their web sites. The technology will soon exist for these to be updated in 'real time'. Some firms are already committed to regular — six-monthly — updates, far more rapid than the once-every-one-or-two-years environmental reporting that we have seen in the past.