Final report - Duffy et al
Summary: Aims to develop the specification for a software tool that could facilitate a process of benchmarking and internal development of an environmental management system among IPC licensees, in addition to assisting electronic reporting.
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This project had the goal of developing the specification for a software tool that could facilitate a process of benchmarking and internal development of an environmental management system among licensees, in addition to assisting electronic reporting, taking into account the needs of companies and the EPA, the scope for performance indicators and the reporting obligations.
A detailed examination of reporting requirements was conducted. International literature on the use of environmental indicators and benchmarking was examined, along with existing software for environmental management systems.
A response rate of 35% was achieved with a comprehensive survey of IPC licensed companies to determine current practice and attitudes. There is merit in developing software to facilitate the mandatory reporting of data.
This should be based on the model of a site tool for preparation of data to be subsequently uploaded to the EPA central system. The software should be relatively simple, to encourage rapid acceptance by licensees.
Along with templates for environmental records and reporting an environmental management programme (EMP), there should be a scheduling tool and report generator. There is no benefit in developing extensive environmental management system support software.
There are numerous commercial products available, yet the majority of licensees have installed or are maintaining a system without recourse to such software. A detailed specification is provided.
The cost of developing a prototype site-tool, from scratch, is estimated at 3115 hours, equivalent to €185,000, assuming certain software and hardware pre-conditions at the test site. Adaptation of an existing commercial system is likely to be less expensive and involve less risk.
A more detailed estimate and specification of the software could be achieved at a cost of approximately €20,000. While the vast majority of licensees use environmental indicators, the average number of indicators used is 6, and these are generally the result of specification in the IPC licence.
The existing level of indicator use and benchmarking practice is relatively modest among licensees. A few generic Operational Performance Indicators should be used across IPC industries: global warming contribution, contribution to ozone depletion, contribution to acidification, non-renewable primary energy input, total water use and total waste disposal.
In view of the existing level of indicator usage, these should be introduced on a site-wide basis rather than by process or product, though process or product-specific values are more useful for management. Licensees should be encouraged to combine these with economic values to derive ecoefficiencies.
A small number of generic Management Performance Indicators should be used: number of complaints on a particular aspect, percentage compliance with licence, percentage of preventive projects in the EMP, number of EMP targets achieved. If the use of indicators becomes more popular, and licensees demonstrate a willingness to share performance data, consideration should be given to introducing a benchmarking system based on experience with quality systems, e.g. a variant on New Mexico's Baldridge-based "Green Zia" categorisation system.