Global focus: China/Hong Kong

4th November 2014

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Related tags

  • Business & Industry ,
  • Certification ,
  • EMS ,
  • Management


Scott Maddison

Chung Ming Choi says a greater number of practitioners experienced in delivering effective environment management systems are required in Hong Kong and mainland China.

ISO 14001 certified environment management systems (EMS) are considered best practice in driving environmental performance and have become the mainstream.

In Hong Kong and mainland China, many publicly listed companies have certified their operations to the 14001 standard. ISO reports that, in 2012, there were more than 91,000 14001 certifications in China. One of the biggest challenges for holding companies, where operations involve other subsidiaries with either management or operational control, is the ability to monitor the effectiveness of EMS development and implementation across different business units.

For those companies that consider environmental management a core business value, experienced EMS practitioners are crucial. Environment management is a relatively new concept to some companies in China and Hong Kong and therefore it has not become a key focus in their business plans. Many will therefore need a professional, preferably a registered EMS auditor involved in key system developments.

The auditor will need to guide inexperienced practitioners through the EMS development process, including the identification and evaluation of significant environmental aspects, conducting the internal environmental audit, and preparing the management review before the ISO 14001 certification.

Subject matter experts and specialists can also be deployed internally across a company, sometimes temporarily, to ensure that material risks are properly addressed and that specific knowledge of the industry is shared.

However, a common difficulty in China and Hong Kong is that there is an insufficient number of experienced EMS practitioners. Most of these practitioners are recent graduates or non-environmental professionals, rather than registered environmental auditors. Some are only working part time on the EMS.

There is no quick fix to the lack of experienced practitioners in the region, but bodies like IEMA are key to the role of developing sufficient professionals to facilitate the development and wider implementation of effective EMS throughout the region.

Chung Ming Choi, FIEMA, principle environmental auditor and lead EMS auditor at group environment, CLP Holdings


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