Targets and Measuring in Environmental Processes
Nearly every business in the world will have set targets and goals in areas of performance. Aspects such as health and safety and financial objectives are amongst the most common for management to concentrate upon, however environmental issues are also becoming increasingly prevalent for targets and performance measures to be introduced and monitored against.
These environmental targets can cover a variety of different elements including the reduction of waste, consuming fewer/lower levels of resources, increasing the amount of material which is reused or recycled... the list is extensive and varied. Conducting an environmental impact assessment along with having employees who hold the NEBOSH Environmental Certificate or similar qualification will greatly assist in this task of environmental hazard identification and suggested remedial action.
Once areas for improvement have been identified, targets will need to be set. Targets for improvement in any area - environmental or not - need to be carefully considered rather than an arbitrary number simply plucked out of the air. This is because defined targets need to be achievable, even if they are tough to accomplish. If a target is set which a person, team, department or company has no hope of ever achieving or coming close to, it will result in many not even bothering to attempt the improvements because they feel as if the end objective is unobtainable.
Targets also need to be applied to areas of improvement where the factors involved can actually be measured. Those that cannot and/or have targets as simple as "Reduce Waste" are too ambiguous and largely meaningless as there is no measurable contribution or definitive target. In this situation it is far more preferable to have a target such as "Reduce the number of units rejected by quality control by 10% this year compared to the previous year". This will not only give the department a specific figure upon which to focus on, but can also easily be measured to see if it has been achieved or not at the end of the period.