Sustaining Partnerships into the Next Century
Quarterly Progress Report
ECOLOGIA (USA)/ Ecoline (Russia)
July to September 2000
To facilitate sustainable development in the Russian Federation by promoting public participation in decision-making concerning the implementation of modern environmental management based on internationally approved EMS (Environmental Management System) approaches.
- To increase project efficiency and effectiveness, ECOLOGIA/Ecoline will rationally select (based on the results from a specially designed questionnaire) target regions, enterprises, NGOs, governments to participate in project activities.
- ECOLOGIA/Ecoline will conduct environmental assessments and prepare recommendations concerning EMS development and implementation at chosen facilities.
- ECOLOGIA/Ecoline will conduct a series of EMS training and awareness workshops focusing on international, national, and regional case studies for target project participants.
- To increase project impact and to promote wider acceptance of EMS in the Russian Federation, ECOLOGIA/Ecoline will organize a special EMS help desk support service to provide consultations and disseminate information (both via Internet and in person).
- ECOLOGIA/Ecoline will contribute to the development of policy recommendations on environmental management systems (at regional, national and international levels).
- In order to focus international attention on the use and need for EMS in the Russian Federation, ECOLOGIA/Ecoline will present project results and case studies at international forums on EMS - and will bring back international perspectives on EMS to the NGOs, governments and businesses in the Russian Federation.
Progress Report According to Achievement Plan Outcomes and Outputs
Assist four Russian enterprises to implement effective environmental management systems (EMS)
During the second quarter of the project, substantial assistance was provided to "Krasnoye Ekho", a glass production company in the Vladimir region. An on-site facility inspection and environmental assessment was conducted by Ecoline from August the 16th to 18th . A follow up inspection was conducted on September 25th and 26th. A quality control management specialist joined Ecoline for the second inspection because integration of environmental management and production quality control practices is a major international trend in environmental management.
Based on the inspections and consultation with company managers, a Ecoline prepared a report for the management board and employees of the glass production enterprise "Krasnoye Ekho", that included:
- A brief assessment of the company's environmental activities,
- Suggestions on possible directions for the development of the company's management systems, including ways to integrate its production, quality control, safety and environmental management systems.
- Identification of specific opportunities to reduce environmental impacts via an integration of economic and environmental activities (i.e. pollution prevention methods that will simultaneously reduce costs and reduce pollution)
- A special section of the report was devoted to possible directions for the development of the company's environmental management system.
The conclusions and recommendations of the Ecoline experts were discussed with the financial director of "Krasnoye Ekho" along with the Quality, Environmental, and Safety officers of the company.
Provide training and disseminate information to raise awareness within public, business & governmental sectors in Russia about EMS as a tool for sustainable development
Updated Training Materials
Training materials explaining pollution prevention principles, the major elements and structure of an environmental management system, and related Russian and international environmental management standards and recommendations was produced by ECOLOGIA/Ecoline. The training materials were produced in order to support the ongoing training activities of this program.
EMS "help" desk via the Internet, mail and personal consultations
Ecoline's help desk was very active. Ecoline EMS website and forum was used to provide "help desk" support to the project's target audience. Average EMS site usage during the period was about 1500 page hits from 250 unique hosts per month (excluding the discussion forum). Average forum usage was about 2000 hits from 300 unique hosts per month.
During the reporting period, Ecoline and regional project offices have answered numerous information requests related to EMS and management systems integration via e-mail, on-line discussions, phone and during meetings and workshops held. Ecoline and it's regional partners also provided personal consultations for those visiting their offices and seeking advice in the field of environmental management. A total of about 60 consultations were provided for representatives of various sectors.
A Regional training and awareness workshop was conducted in Gus-Khrustalny on August 21-23, 2000.
Thirty-three people representing civil activists (NGO leaders), enterprise managers and supervisors, regional and local governmental officials, and educational establishments attended the workshop.
The workshop hand-out materials covered the following topics:
- Information on the IREX/SPAN program and the project.
- General information on Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and standards.
- Information on modern general management approaches; TQM and the integration of management systems.
- Discussion materials on the role of different sectors of society in the development and implementation of EMS approaches in Russia.
- Information on the major components of an ISO 14000 EMS and its implementation.
- Discussion materials on the possible benefits that could be gained by various stakeholders as a result of the introduction of EMS principles in the RF.
- Information on Preliminary Environmental Assessment and Auditing (EA) principles
- Discussion materials on environmental labeling and environmental declarations.
At the beginning of the workshop T. Guseva (Ecoloine project director) stated the objectives of the workshop and explained the IREX/SPAN program. A representative of the Environmental Council of the Gus-Khrustalny Municipality, G.V. Vorontsov, discussed the environmental problems of Gus-Khrustalny and the Vladimir region and the environmental activities that were taking place in Gus-Khrustalny district to address these problems.
At the beginning of the workshop participants briefly presented information about themselves, their interests and their organizations. It is worth noting that many participants' expressed a willingness to:
- collect and present materials to stimulate company management to implement an EMS in according with the ISO 14000 standards:
- obtain additional information necessary for EMS implementation and ISO 14000 certification;
- Open a broad public dialogue on the environmental aspects and activities of local companies and allow the local public to have input into the decision making process.
Participants discussed social, economic and other issues affecting the implementation of voluntary environmental activities in the Vladimir region. They shared information on voluntary environmental activities, experiences and existing approaches to environmental management in their own enterprises. The role of NGOs in the development of voluntary environmental activities was actively discussed.
A 20-minute video on food production was used for one of the practical exercises. The participants broke into groups to identify environmental aspects and impacts, set goals and objectives, and establish environmental indicators. Each group made a short presentation, then the exercise results were discussed and commented upon by the teachers and the participants.
Another practical exercise required the participants to fill out questionnaires designed to evaluate the management systems of their enterprises. The trainers analyzed the questionnaires, and then the results were discussed with participants, thus providing them with an assessment of the current situation in their organizations and possible directions for improving the management system.
At the end of the workshop, the participants were asked to evaluate the workshop. The following table summarizes the evaluation on 1(low) to 5(high) scale.
|Visual materials and hand-outs||4.98|
|Quality of lectures|
|Discussions (usefulness, audience involvement)||4.65|
|Workshop technical providing||4.94|
The participants were also requested to state the most and the least useful topics and to provide their recommendations for future workshops, as well as any other comments. According to the participants', the issues of particular usefulness were:
- linkages between quality and environmental management systems standards;
- EMS introduction methodology;
- practical exercises and discussions;
- allocation of responsibility in and EMS;
- communications and documentation in an EMS;
- Identification of environmental aspects.
Workshop participants were encouraged to pass on knowledge and materials gained at the workshops to others in the institutions they represent (government agencies, industry, NGOs). Lessons learned at the workshop and suggestions will be used in the development of future workshop programs.
Prepare recommendations to be used in the development of national environmental management guidelines in the Russian Federation
The participants at the regional workshop conducted in Gus-Khrustalny discussed the difficulties in understanding the Russian version of the ISO 14001, GOST R ISO 14001. In the opinion of most participants, the GOST R ISO 14001 standard is difficult to use in the Russian organizations. These comments will be used by Ecoline staff in the development of recommendations under this project on the use of ISO 14000 in Russia.
Prior to the workshop, Ecoline employees and experts visited the Gus-Khrustalny District Administration and the Gus-Khrustalny District Environmental Committee to discuss the project. The discussion focused on the environmental and economic situation in the Gus-Khrustalny region and the Vladimir region in general and how these conditions affect the implementation of environmental management systems. The participants discussed the role of public dialogue, cooperation between social sectors and information transparency in efficient EMS creation. Participants agreed that the role of federal and regional authorities is to facilitate the EMS implementation process and to support organizations that want to implement an EMS by ensuring favorable conditions, providing stimuli and removing obstacles. As a result, one more step was made on the way of broadening the understanding and obtaining the support of local NGOs and authorities for voluntary environmental activities and management systems in the Russian Federation.
While providing information on the EMS approaches to enterprises, governmental bodies and NGOs, ECOLOGIA and ECOLINE will continue to stress the importance of public participation and transparency in developing effective, sustainable environmental management systems.
Increase awareness about the use of EMS in transition economies & NGO involvement in EMS issues by presenting project case studies and participating in international forums.
ECOLOGIA and Ecoline continued to develop their EMS-related websites in order to disseminate information on environmental management issues and on the project.
The ECOLOGIA site (http://www.ecologia.org/iso14000/) was updated to include a materials related to the Stockholm Plenary Meeting of TC207 (the ISO committee responsible for developing the ISO14000 standard series) where ECOLOGIA and Ecoline representatives were active participants. The materials include a report on NGO participation in the meeting, the NGO Contact Group discussion paper and summary report, and a TC207 resolution on the NGO Task Group.
Publication of project information at the Ecoline environmental management site (http://www.ecoline.ru/mc/management/) was continued. The full text of a major manual on enterprise management was placed online (L. Koshkin, A. Khachaturov, I. Bulatov. Management of an Industrial Enterprise), as well as a number of smaller publications. The manual contains special chapters on the environmental management and total quality management. Ecoline continued to maintain an online forum on EMS implementation in Russia. Representatives of various sectors (industries, authorities, academic institutions, and NGOs) participated into the discussion. Among the issues actively discussed were the following:
- the first ISO 14001 certification of a Russian enterprise (Vologda bearing plant);
- roles of foreign and Russian consultants in EMS implementation and certifications;
- EMS and compliance with Russian environmental quality standards;
- Benefits of implementing EMS in the Russian context.
Participation in the US Technical Advisory Group to ISO
ECOLOGIA's project manager, Ed Shoener, attended the US TAG meeting in Arlington, Virginia in September. At this meeting the US TAG voted to support the establishment of an NGO Task Group which will report to the International Standards Organization on methods that need to be employed to increase worldwide NGO participation in the development of the ISO 14000 standards. Ecologia and Ecoline actively participated in the development of the "charter document" for this group at the ISO Stockholm meeting in June 2000. It is expected that full international approval will be given to establishing the NGO Task Group. ECOLOGIA and Ecoline will make every effort to participate in the NGO Task Group once it is formally established.
Also at this meeting a controversy arose as to the US TAG's involvement in the development of a new work item to address the need for as external communications guidance document. The issue of external communications is very important to most environmental NGOs. Many members of the US TAG were concerned about the way the US TAG leadership has handled this issue. As a result a commission was appointed to investigate the leaderships handling of this matter. The commission has been named the "Devlin Commission" and ECOLOGIA's Ed Shoener is one of the four individuals that the TAG members voted onto this commission.