In this second briefing let’s look at ED1 Element 2. This is a very short module. In fact it is the shortest on the course, with a recommended tuition time of 4 hours. This element covers the essentials of environmental leadership over five learning outcomes, most of which you are required to outline.
Let’s consider some of the key learning points of Element 2. Below are some of the more key sections. However, do be aware you could be tested on other learning outcomes of the element as well.
General view on Element 2
I think a lot of the content in Element 2 surrounds good management principles that are applied to environmental management. You may have come across a lot of the content in general management or in other disciplines such as health & safety and quality management. If in doubt therefore try to think about the general management techniques you are aware of. Then apply them to environmental management.
Reasons for improving environmental and social performance
This seems to be the largest section of Element 2 and it is at the ‘explain’ level meaning that you need to know the content in a fair amount of depth. I think this section is not overly difficult. In particular, it should be straightforward to those of you who have had some basic occupational health & safety training. The reasons are very similar (moral, legal and economic). Perhaps the one area of difference is the economic reasons. Don’t forget in environmental management there are many cost savings to be made from reduction in energy, water and raw material uses. There are also opportunities to not accrue costs in the first place from good accident prevention measures or environmental tax reductions.
Effective environmental leadership
This section covers several different elements of good practice when it comes to environmental leadership. However, we could quite easily remove the word ‘environmental’ as these factors are relevant to any form of leadership whether it is general management, quality or health and safety. If in doubt, therefore, don’t get too worked up by the environmental angle. Think of these factors as being important for any form of leadership and put a slight environmental slant on them. For example making sure resources are provided, leaders being committed and integrating a discipline into day to day operations are all key general management principles that apply to many business issues not just environmental management.
A short section, but an important one is for you to be able to understand information regarding ‘competence’. We can define competence as being ‘the ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve intended results’. It is basically that the individual can complete their work tasks to a high standard. A common mistake is that people often think that sending a person on a training course will make them competent – training and competence are not synonymous!
Let’s say we have a new starter who has no experience of undertaking an environmental hazardous task. So, they may attend a training course to gain basic knowledge. But this does not introduce them to the practicalities of the job. As such, they will need a great deal of supervision and assistance from those who are more experienced to gain the required competence. Competence is a key management issue, so it is important that an organisation has a framework for management of organisational competence. This is often in the form of a skills matrix for a job role, where an individual must gain all the required skills to be deemed competent.
That’s some of the key issues in Element 2. I will be back soon with some hints and tips on element 3.
John Binns BSc (Hons), MSc, MIEMA
With over 19 years’ experience working in environment management, John Binns BSc (Hons) MSc MIEMA is an experienced environmental tutor and consultant with knowledge of health and safety management.