Overview

 

Overview

 

 

 

 Sponsored by the European Union (EFRE) and Styria

 

 

 

 

 

Environmental management is no longer a voluntary minor matter but is rather becoming a critical executive function. Although many organizations have already implemented an environmental management system (EMS) according to international standards, especially the ISO 14000 series and the EMAS regulation, the  integration of the EMS in their conventional managerial decision support systems is usually still lacking. However, focussing only on monetary objectives can easily lead to negative environmental impact while actions concentrating exclusively on sustainability may leak acceptance because of high costs or other negative economic consequences. In order to make economically and ecologically efficient decisions a common database is necessary. This is the starting-point of our R&D-project STABIS.  

 

STABIS stands for the German termStoffstromanalyse-, Bewertungs- und InformationsSystem“. This means that an integrated managerial information system based on the analysis of material flows as well as on the economic and ecological assessment of clearly defined systems is to be developed. The objective of STABIS is to provide a tool that enables industry to achieve a holistic knowledge-based environmental management approach.

 

 First questions concerning the overall vision and mission, the environmental objectives and targets of the company, existing legal or other requirements and restriction need to be answered. On the basis of this first analysis a customized configuration of STABIS can be undertaken. A core function of this tool is to analyse technical-physical an well as economic data of identified critical processes or materials. It is crucial that STABIS must not be a stand alone solution. Hence, data-gathering has to start in the existing enterprise-resource-planning system (ERP) of the specific organization. Only data that is not contained in the ERP has to be provided additionally, e.g. by manual data-entry or other existing stand alone applications. Data redundancy in different information systems within the same organization should thus be avoided, data integrity and compatibility reached.  

 

Concerning the possibilities for data-retrieval, the user interface has to support changing demands without requiring modification of the environmental management tool. The database of STABIS has to be edited and processed in a way that different levels of analytical detail can easily be required. While top management is likely to prefer highly aggregated information lower management levels might have more detailed output needs. The most critical success factor of developing STABIS is the transformation of the environmental targets into a comprehensive set of performance measures that provides the framework for a continual environmental evaluation of the organization’s activities. Since STABIS claims to be an integrated environmental management tool it is crucial to combine environmental and economic performance measures in a way that provides decision makers with an appropriate set of measures. This integration in existing management information and decision support systems depends strongly on the tools applied in the specific organization and can be reached for example by extending any existing Balanced Scorecard Management Program (Kaplan/Norton) or as part of so-called benchmarking activities.

 

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