Skip to main content

Help at distance the SMEs in the development of their environmental management

Objective



All organisations are affected in some way by environmental laws and regulations, irrespective of the size or nature of their business. New environmental legislation is making it increasingly important for businesses, large and small, to re-assess their environmental performance. Failure to comply, even through lack of understanding, may subject them to avoidable risks from financial penalties, loss of reputation and credibility.
'All business involves some environmental damages. The best we can do is clear up our own mess while searching hard for ways to reduce our impact on the environment.' (extract from the Body Shop Environmental statement 1991/92).
The Ecomanagement project aims to facilitate the development of environmental management programmes in European SMEs. This aim will be achieved by the means of telematics methods, tools and supports. These will be applied to deliver distance services consisting of 'off-the-self solutions amenable to computer-supported co-operative working'.
The distance services to be delivered are as follows:
- multimedia training applications
- counselling
- pedagogical help desk
- tutors' and telecounsellors' teleworking.
The telematics infrastructure will be implemented over N-ISDN and comprise videoconferencing, remote access to environmental databases, and distance sharing of training applications. By implementing such an infrastructure, it will be possible to overcome the disadvantages which SMEs suffer in the EU not only of being widely scattered but also from being in rural or isolated locations. Ecomanagement will contribute momentum to the growth of telematics services and multimedia technologies.
Ecomanagement will initially be concerned with the Plastics Industry, implementing an environmental management programme which covers water, air, waste and soil pollution. Later it will move to other industrial sectors such as chemicals, steel, but in these cases it will only cover water pollution management.
The partner representatives with a strong involvement in evaluation, verification and demonstration phases are the French Federation of Plastics and FORMHEL, a Greek regional network consortium comprising steel, chemical, radio, education and university interests.

Major Validation Sites
CEDIPLAST, Lyon, FR
GTEX, Cholet, FR
EIA, Angoulème, FR
CNED, Poitier, FR
CMC, Gosselie, BE
CEBLL, Cornella, ES
CITA, Ripoll, ES
ALUMINIUM DE GRECE, Paralia Distomou, GR
IVEPE, Athenes, GR
PO, Belignat, FR
PROMIPLAST, Oyonnax, FR
GERFLOR, Lyon, FR
RECTICEL, Trilport, FR
CESI, Poitier, FR
CNED, Vanves, FR
FIAC, Angouleme, FR
CGE, Espagnac, FR
SAUR, Aigre, FR
CTB, Manreba, ES
CDEIT, Hospitalet, ES
PIVSAM, Vilanova, ES
HELLENIC STEEL Co, Thessaloniki, GR
IVEPE Co, Volos, GR
TITAN Co, Athens, GR

Users
End users are head managers, managers and operators of enterprises looking for establishing an environmental management system.
They will be involved through direct interviews in the design of telecounselling and teletraining services, and they will participate in the evaluation of multimedia material. At two phases of the project it is planned that end users conduct assessments on the extent to which the services provided meet their requirements.
Intermediate users are both the teletrainers and the telecounsellors who are involved in the development of the multimedia material. They will also participate in the evaluation, and be the first to use telematics infrastructure which is implemented in the framework of the project.

User groups will be organised by selected experts.
It is planned to use standard technologies which allow videotelephoning, software sharing, and access to databases. Except for videotelephone this will be done using low-rate ISDN and classical phone line. The user interfaces and integration of software and hardware will be designed to be user-friendly.

Expected Benefits
- savings in energy costs through reducing travel, and reduced consumption of paper
- promotion of environmental protection and consequently improvement of citizens' well-being
- wider use of telematics services in general
- freedom of location for counsellors and trainers when working with other experts and trainers
- geographical independence of location, and hence less isolation, for the end user
- (a good level of probability that telematics applications, such as videotelephoning and software sharing, do not have an adverse effect on human interaction, especially as staff will participate in the development work).

Contribution to EU Policies
The project will contribute to the EU's environmental policies. It will help SMEs which are seeking to establish environmental management systems and be registered under regulation 1836/93 on the voluntary participation in an Environmental Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). It will also favour rural and urban development by developing training and counselling at distance.

Coordinator

Centres d'Etudes Supérieures Industrielles CESI Group

Participants (8)

CENTRE NATIONAL D'ENSEIGNEMENT A DISTANCE
France
FORMHEL Consortium
Greece
Fédération Française de la Plasturgie
France
INSTITUT CATALA DE TECHNOLOGIA
Spain
International Office of Water Association
France
MARI (Northern Ireland) Ltd
United Kingdom
Address
Bridgewood House Newforge Lane
BT9 5NW Belfast
Tüv Akademie Rheinland GmbH
Germany
Université de Mons-Hainaut
Belgium