Integrating ISO 14000 Environmental Management Standards into Intensive Ornamental Plant Production Systems

in HortScience
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  • 1 Univ. of Maryland, Dept. of Natural Resource Sciences and Landscape Architecture, College Park, MD 20742

Environmental and human safety regulations are now an inevitable part of horticultural crop production. For most businesses, worker training and the subsequent collection and administration of data required for reporting purposes is often regarded as an economic burden. There are few systematic models that firstly provide an ecompassing approach to this business requirement, but more importantly which provide resources that simplify and perhaps automate the reporting of data to any significant degree. A good environmental management system (EMS) should provide a framework to systematically plan, control, measure and improve an organization's environmental performance and assessment. Significant environmental improvements (and cost savings) can be achieved by assessing and improving management and production processes, but only if the data are collected and analyzed quickly and easily. Many times, growers do not realize the relationship between their improved environmental performance and other key EMS benefits, such as reduced liability, better credit ratings, enhanced employee performance, improved customer relations, marketing advantages together with improved regulatory compliance. The International organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 series is the most widely accepted international standard for EMS. Growers in most states in the US are required to document their use of pesticides and other agrochemicals that can impact human health, and in some states are also required to to document and monitor their applications of water and nutrients, in an effort to environmental pollution. This paper will illustrate the key elements of environmental management systems and how this can be integrated into production management using process management software.

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