Furthering Environmental Impact Assessment

Furthering Environmental Impact Assessment

Towards a Seamless Connection between EIA and EMS

Edited by Anastássios Perdicoúlis, Bridget Durning and Lisa Palframan

The environmental impact of development projects is currently studied and mitigated from two distinct perspectives: before and after 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 analysed, an issue that has been noted by both academics and practitioners. This book gathers and presents both theoretical and actual examples to link EIA with EMS and explores ways to overcome difficulties and provide innovative solutions.

Chapter 2: Information and Knowledge Management

Luis E. Sánchez

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, environment, environmental management, environmental sociology


Luis E. S´ nchez a Timely, accurate and purposeful information is essential to environmental impact assessment (EIA), as it provides necessary inputs to project planners and decision makers. The same is true for managers in charge of constructing, operating or decommissioning a project whose approval was supported by EIA. But what is the connection between information generated in the planning and subsequent phases of a project’s life span? Managers are supposed to comply with terms and conditions of approvals and licenses which in turn derive from impact assessment. Thus, mitigation and compensation of negative impacts, enhancement of positive ones, risk reduction measures, emergency action plans and monitoring are components of management that originate in the assessment phase. In practice, however, assessment teams are different from the construction crew which in turn hands over the facility’s keys to a new operations team. Can we ensure the integrity of relevant information as it flows through so many heads? In fact, it is not information that matters, but knowledge. Know-how, know-what, know-when and especially know-why are perhaps the key aspects to be transmitted as a project is conceived, assessed, modified, reassessed, built and operated. It is different for a construction manager to implement a particular mitigation measure because someone told him he has to (even because of contractual conditions) or to implement the very same measure because he knows why it is part of the project approval conditions – the result of a negotiation with the community, for instance. Conversely, as information goes...

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