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Students will be provided with a set of readings around a certain topic in environmental management (usually 2 journal articles corresponding to each module of study). All papers will be related to a central theme/industrial sector. Students are required to read the articles and reflect on them. Students are then required to write 1 piece (paper) using the provided articles only. The paper is expected to be analytical and reflective rather than a simple descriptive summary of the articles. Students may also refer to the corresponding chapters from the textbooks in their papers. The paper is required to follow an academic style of writing and must properly reference their sources (in text and in the list of references).

How EMS has proven to be beneficial for Australian agriculture

Environmental management systems (EMS) can be defined as a set of the practices and processes that enables an organization to reduce the operational impact on the environment and increase the operational efficiency at the same time. EMS can be considered as a framework that enables an organization to consistently evaluate, review its environmental performance. The implementation of the EMS in the Australian agricultural system is pushed by the government investments as well as the industry investments. Both the government and the industrial sector through their investment in the EMS are searching the various types of the stakeholder groups. this is done to innovate ways of addressing the various environment-related issues that arise in the agricultural sector (rirdc.infoservices.com.au, 2018). This study is based on the implementation of environment management system in Australian agriculture sector.

Research question

How did the environmental management system viable prove to be beneficial for the Australian agricultural sector?

According to Collins et al. (2016), pollution from the agricultural diffuse is a serious issue and mitigating the same through the policies is a significant challenge for countries like United Kingdom and European nations. In the UK several voluntary approaches and regulatory approaches are taken into account, however, this has proved to be a failure in achieving the desired environmental outcomes. Thus, due to this reason, the best way is to identify the mitigation strategies that will be based on farms so that the framers will readily accept such mitigation measures. The authors have undertaken an attitudinal survey of the farmers in order to measure the attitude of the farmers towards the measures that they are receptive about. The mitigation procedures included the strategies that emphasized on the cost neutral and low-cost measures and cost later on was found to be the most desired criteria for the farmers. According to Cary & Roberts (2011), the efficiency of the government supported programs of Australia regarding the management of water and land system has received mixed responses. The environment management systems have been adopted in order to improve the environmental outcomes that have raised due to the various agricultural practices. The pro-environmental behaviours were conveyed to the farmers and along with it, the farmers were provided with the financial and other sorts of support. This study has highlighted that the adoption of the environmental management system that has a sufficient amount of public benefits did not yield a sufficient amount of impact upon the environment. Thus, it has been found that the farmers are willing to adopt practices that will benefit them financially rather than the practices that will have a positive environmental outcome.

Challenges and limitations

According to El Hanandeh (2015), the olive oil industry is increasing at a rate of 9 percent and this has to the pollution of the surrounding areas of the industry through the wastewater and the solid waste generated. Due to this reason the olive oil industry has posed a significant amount of challenges for the olive oil industry. The levels of pollution have proved to be a disaster for the environment through the formation of photochemical oxidant, ionising radiation, fossil fuel depletion, human toxicity, acidification, eutrophication, global warming, ozone layer depletion. It has been identified that the transportation distances and future energy scenario are some of the most common aspects that affected the performance. It has been found in the study even though Australia focuses on the cleaner energy, then also it is unlikely the performance of the alternatives will improve. It is an established fact that composting is the best method, still, the wastes generated from the olive oil production can be used to produce energy.

According to Daddi et al. (2016), among the debated scholars the institutional theory is a widely debated topic. This study has indicated how the institutional pressures have played a major role in influencing the choices of the company regarding the environmental strategies. There is very little clarity regarding the institutional pressures and the effectivity of the environmental management system. towards achieving the corporate reputation, competitiveness, eco-innovation. This study has highlighted the role played by the normative forces, mimetic and the coercive forces in the completive responses and the stimulating innovation along with proper environmental certification. From the 242 surveys conducted in the EMAS registered companies in Europe, it has been found that there is a more amount of the positive influence on the normative and mimetic pressures in comparison to the coercive ones. While the entire is presented through the lens of the institutional theory.

Nguyen et al. (2014), has highlighted that the agricultural by-products can be used as a substrate in the phosphate bio-sorbents development. The study has highlighted that the natural waste and the by-products, lack of anion binding sites are not efficient in the decontamination of phosphate. However, it has been seen that the modification has played a significant role in improving the sorption property of raw waste and by-products. The ligand exchange mechanism and the electrostatic interaction has played a major role in the improving the phosphate retention capability of raw waste and by-products. Also, it has been highlighted that the poor recyclability of the raw waste and by-products has led to it less application. According to Leung & Yang (2012), wind energy is regarded as the best source of energy due to its environmental friendliness and cleanliness that will reduce the reliance on the fossil fuels. This technology has rapidly developed in the recent years. The renewable energy is a comparatively new technology and is a low cost that makes it promising as an important source of energy for the future.  However, it is important to note that the installation of wind turbines for the purpose of generating wind energy has its negative implications on the environment.

Institutional pressures and EMS effectiveness

According to Lewandowska (2011), there are prospects in using the life cycle assessment in the assessment and identification of the environmental management systems which is based on the European Union EMAS regulation and international standard ISO 14001. The study included 36 organizations that had complaints regarding the usage of the EMAS or the ISO14001. The results of the study have highlighted that the life cycle assessment is considered as a vital tool in the management of assessment and identification of the various aspects of the environment in EMS. According to de Oliveira et al. (2017), companies must bring changes in the way manufacture and produce products in order to boost environmental performance that is required by the stakeholders. The modification not only boosts the market performance but also the economic performance. Authors have emphasized on the cleaner production strategies that focus on the ISO 14001 standard. A survey was carried out in the Brazilian industrial companies and it has been found cleaner production is considered the best strategy and it is also important in the improving the environmental performance. According to Notarnicola et al. (2017), thinking about the life cycle is considered to be a vital concept in ensuring the transition towards a more sustainable consumption and production patterns. It has been seen that both the consumption and production patterns have impacted the environment negatively. For several years, the life cycle assessment has been focussed on the agricultural systems, manufacturing activities and food processing. This study has suggested that the food production systems and complex and involve a mix of several aspects that require a modelling approach to streamline the process. The modelling approach will take into account the life cycle assessment of the food products.  

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it can be concluded that Environmental management systems are a set of the practices and processes that enable an organization to reduce the operational impact on the environment and increase the operational efficiency at the same time. The study emphasized the research question of how did the environmental management system viable proved to be beneficial for the Australian agricultural sector. Studies have highlighted that the adoption of the environmental management system that has a sufficient amount of public benefits did not yield a sufficient amount of impact upon the environment. Thus, it has been found that the farmers are willing to adopt practices that will benefit them financially rather than the practices that will have a positive environmental outcome. While and attitudinal survey of the farmers undertaken have shown that in order to measure the attitude of the farmers towards the measures that they are receptive about. The mitigation procedures included the strategies that emphasized on the cost neutral and low-cost measures and cost later on was found to be the most desired criteria for the farmers.

Reference

Cary, J., & Roberts, A. (2011). The limitations of environmental management systems in Australian agriculture. Journal of Environmental Management, 92(3), 878-885.

Collins, A. L., Zhang, Y. S., Winter, M., Inman, A., Jones, J. I., Johnes, P. J., ... & Noble, L. (2016). Tackling agricultural diffuse pollution: What might uptake of farmer-preferred measures deliver for emissions to water and air?. Science of the Total Environment, 547, 269-281.

Daddi, T., Testa, F., Frey, M., & Iraldo, F. (2016). Exploring the link between institutional pressures and environmental management systems effectiveness: an empirical study. Journal of environmental management, 183, 647-656.

de Oliveira, J. A., Silva, D. A. L., Guardia, M., do Nascimento Gambi, L., de Oliveira, O. J., & Ometto, A. R. (2017). How can Cleaner Production practices contribute to meet ISO 14001 requirements? Critical analysis from a survey with industrial companies. Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy, 19(6), 1761-1774.

El Hanandeh, A. (2015). Energy recovery alternatives for the sustainable management of olive oil industry waste in Australia: life cycle assessment. Journal of Cleaner Production, 91, 78-88.

Leung, D. Y., & Yang, Y. (2012). Wind energy development and its environmental impact: a review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 16(1), 1031-1039.

Lewandowska, A. (2011). Environmental life cycle assessment as a tool for identification and assessment of environmental aspects in environmental management systems (EMS) part 1: methodology. The international journal of life cycle assessment, 16(2), 178-186.

Nguyen, T. A. H., Ngo, H. H., Guo, W. S., Zhang, J., Liang, S., Lee, D. J., ... & Bui, X. T. (2014). Modification of agricultural waste/by-products for enhanced phosphate removal and recovery: potential and obstacles. Bioresource technology, 169, 750-762.

Notarnicola, B., Sala, S., Anton, A., McLaren, S. J., Saouter, E., & Sonesson, U. (2017). The role of life cycle assessment in supporting sustainable agri-food systems: A review of the challenges. Journal of Cleaner Production, 140, 399-409.

rirdc.infoservices.com.au. (2018). Environmental Management Systems Implementation in Agriculture. Retrieved from https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/downloads/06-005

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