Towards a Seamless Connection between EIA and EMS
Edited by Anastássios Perdicoúlis, Bridget Durning and Lisa Palframan
Bridget Durning, Lisa Palframan, and ´ Anast´ ssios Perdicoulis a Environmental impacts of investment projects – for instance, petroleum drilling, mining, or highways – are currently studied and mitigated from two distinct perspectives: before and after the project implementation, with environmental impact assessment (EIA) and environmental management systems (EMS) being the main instruments on the respective sides. This double-perspective creates a discontinuity in the way environmental impacts are dealt with but there is no signiﬁcant reason why this situation should remain sub-optimal as EIA and EMS are both environmental protection tools with complementary purposes: whilst the goal of EIA is to anticipate and mitigate the environmental impacts of proposed new projects at the planning and design stages, an EMS can help organisations to effectively manage the day-to-day environmental impacts arising during the construction, operation and decommissioning of such projects. By supporting a systematic approach to the identiﬁcation and evaluation of impacts, both tools can ensure that resources are focused on those impacts deemed to be ‘signiﬁcant’. Used effectively and in an integrated manner, they can ensure the main environmental issues are identiﬁed at an early stage in project planning and are systematically addressed throughout the project life cycle. The issues with this double-perspective, but also the potential beneﬁt of closer connection, have been perceived by both academics and practitioners at various points over the last forty years. There have been both theoretical and practical attempts to link EIA with environmental management (EM) almost from the point when EIA...