An organisation’s activities, products and services that interact with the environment are referred to as “aspects”, which may have a negative or positive impact on the environment. Typically, aspects might include emissions to air, discharges to water and waste arisings, which in turn may generate environmental and health impacts such as global warming, water pollution or contaminated land.

All activities generate impacts. Some, such as those of an office-based service, may have relatively minor environmental impacts, such as less waste materials and lower energy consumption linked to air pollution. Whereas some heavy industrial aspects such as processes that cause emissions to air and discharges to water may have significant environmental impacts.

Managing environmental aspects and impacts is arguably the most important component of an environment management system. This topic explains how to identify environmental aspects and related impacts and provides useful methods for determining relative significance in terms of risks to the environment. It also explains how to compile a register of significant aspects and impacts.

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