Institute to raise status of environmental managers

Environmental managers in business have a new champion. The Institute of Environmental Managers (IEM), launched in Glasgow during October, will aim to give them professional recognition and promote the transfer of knowledge and experience in environmental management.

The IEM was devised by the Centre of Environment and Business in Scotland (CEBIS), which was formed 18 months ago with funding from Scottish Enterprise to provide practical environmental information and advice to Scottish businesses. CEBIS now has over 300 corporate members.

The IEM is a response to demand from senior environmental managers in Scotland for professional recognition and support. "We were receiving a growing number of requests from individuals in industry saying they were working too much in isolation," says CEBIS Director Alexander Peckham.

The principal aims of the IEM will be to provide a forum for the exchange of information between environmental managers, and to raise their status through accreditation.

Accreditation will be at two levels of competence. Applicants for associate membership will have to demonstrate a clear understanding of environmental management systems, legislation, external communications and risk management, as well as a general appreciation of technical principles of pollution control and waste reduction.

Applicants for full membership will have to demonstrate the ability to design and implement a workable environmental management system within their companies. Those who have already implemented such a system will be eligible for a fast-track route to full membership. Their competence will be assessed by a panel comprising two environmental managers and an academic with experience in environmental management training.

Details of the training and experience required in both categories of membership are still being worked up. One thorny issue, says Mr Peckham, is that "most companies want people with industrial experience to take on environmental management, rather than individuals trained in environmental management to come straight into industry." CEBIS is planning to prepare a syllabus in environmental management which would produce graduates of greater appeal to industry, and to offer it to educational institutions.

Although the IEM has a Scottish parentage, CEBIS wants to extend its coverage, and is looking to link up with suitable organisations elsewhere in the UK. Further information may be obtained from CEBIS on 031-555 5334.

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