Environmental Management Tools
Environmental management tools are sometimes dismissed as 'academic', 'obvious' or 'irrelevant' by designers. Any design process that has not rigorously applied appropriate management tools for optimising environmental performance does not represent 'ecodesign'. An environmentally conscious business should develop internal mechanisms for predicting environmental outcomes for all new projects. There are many design tools available to assist sustainable or restorative design, such as life cycle assessment (LCA), environmental impact assessment (EIA), environmental auditing (EA), and environmental management systems (EMS). EIA is the first of the environmental management tools to be applied to any proposed development. LCA aims to provide an objective method for evaluating the total environmental burden of a product or activity, by identifying all the material and energy inputs and wastes. EMS is an approach aimed at developing best practice management. It requires a commitment to continual environmental improvement. EA is an objective check on: how well a business is meeting its environmental obligations.