The EU-programme 'Towards Sustainability' underlines the role and responsibilities of industry, both to reinforce the economy and to protect the environment. The EU-Eco-Audit-Regulation (1993) specified these tasks in detail and assigned clear responsibilities to industry to manage the environmental impact of its activities and to adopt a proactive approach in this field. LMS Environment had been working for 4 years to develop CAEMIS - a computer-based support system for environmental management in industry. Based on close co-operation with industrial companies and partially funded by the Austrian Government, LMSE continually improved the system to meet the user demands and has completed several pilot installations. With the introduction of the EU-Eco-Audit-Regulation (EMAS), demand for systemised methods and support tools has significantly increasing throughout Europe.
This project was aimed at the transfer and dissemination of the CAEMIS system, by offering the chance to prove the flexibility and robustness of the system in further industrial applications at European level. The pilot sites for testing of the innovation were in three different sectors of industry in Denmark, Spain and Ireland. The technology assimilation took place in the respective countries via intermediary partners from consultancy and applied research organisations. Using their localised expertise, the system was adapted to the individual types of organisation, national legislation as well as local language. All systems will support compliance with EU regulations.
The system consisted of 8 integrated modules covering environmentally related tasks on the technical operating level (e.g. waste and hazardous materials management, pollution control, management of provisions and permits) as well as on the strategic level for planning, control and management (e.g. eco-inventories of processes and products, impact assessment, management of responsibilities). The CAEMIS concept and software tools provided comprehensive and detailed support for these new and complex tasks.
Strong features of the project included:
- technology transfer was not restricted to the introduction of software but also the exchange of ideas and concepts relating to industrial environmental management.
- all participants benefited, especially the end users, in increased knowledge and understanding of environmental management. The intermediaries were introduced to a new aspect of environmental consulting. LMSE gained significant knowledge of environmental consulting approaches.
- it has been an important exchange and peer learning among the partners and the project consultant in terms of both IT and environmental expertise.
- spill over benefits: there have been changes in attitude through awareness which would have long term accumulative benefits in the development of the company's culture.
- the project has also formed a base for future collaboration between the partners.