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Aspects, impacts and risks

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Guest user Created:   Jun 04, 2019 Last commented:   Jun 04, 2019

Aspects, impacts and risks

What is meant by the terms “environmental aspects” and “environmental impacts”?
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ISO 14001 DOCUMENTATION TOOLKIT

Step-by-step implementation for smaller companies.

ISO 14001 DOCUMENTATION TOOLKIT

Step-by-step implementation for smaller companies.

Expert
Carlos Pereira da Cruz Jun 04, 2019

Answer:
Please consider this example:

https://www.screencast.com/t/B9r5RcjuYH

At the maintenance warehouse, lubricating oils are handled to apply in preventive maintenance activities. Because people handle lubricating oils there is the possibility of spillages or leakages. If a spillage or leakage occurs, there is the possibility of contamination of soil or water.
The potential spillage or leakage is an environmental aspect, an element of an organization’s products, services and activities which can interact with the environment. Other examples of environmental aspects are, for example, discharges to water, emissions to air, use of natural resources and materials, or generation of wastes. Environmental impacts are the consequences of the environmental aspects.
At the example above, the environmental aspect is permanent but the environmental impact depends of the context, depends on the use of preventive and responsive measures.

How can a bu siness assess the risks of its environmental impacts?

Answer:
Some environmental impacts are more or less predictable. For example, if an organization cuts metal sheets it will always generate metallic waste. Other environmental impacts have more uncertainty associated, like in the example above the contamination of soil or water.
Risks are about uncertainty. For example, is there any risk (any possibility) of extraordinary inefficient metal cutting, generating more metallic waste? Is there any risk of contamination of soil or water because of the handling of lubricating oils?
The organization can evaluate those risks considering the actual situation. For example, if there are preventive measures and responsive means in place perhaps the probability of occurrence and consequences of occurrence make the risk less relevant.

The following material will provide you information about assessment of environmental interactions:

- ISO 14001 – 4 steps in identification and evaluation of environmental aspects – https://advisera.com/14001academy/knowledgebase/4-steps-in-identification-and-evaluation-of-environmental-aspects/
- ISO 14001 risks and opportunities vs. environmental aspects - https://advisera.com/14001academy/blog/2016/06/06/iso-14001-risks-and-opportunities-vs-environmental-aspects/

- Risks and opportunities in ISO 14001:2015 – What they are and why they are importante - https://advisera.com/14001academy/blog/2016/03/07/risks-and-opportunities-in-iso-140012015-what-they-are-and-why-they-are-important/

- free online training ISO 14001:2015 Foundations Course – https://training.advisera.com/se/iso-14001-internal-auditor-course/o-14001-foundations-course/
- book – THE ISO 14001:2015 COMPANION – A A Straightforward Guide to Implementing an EMS in a Small Business - https://advisera.com/books/the-iso-14001-2015-companion/
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