• Trees & shadows in forest
    NEBOSH & Assessments

    Hints and Tips – NEBOSH Environmental Diploma

    Practical Projects – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly I mark NEBOSH Environmental Diploma projects on a fairly regular basis, so I’d like to offer some hints and tips to help you achieve a good mark, based on my experiences of the sublime and the ridiculous! First and foremost, I would advise you to spend quite a bit of time reading the project guide (officially called ED2 Workplace-Based Project). It is often plainly obvious when students have not done this. There is also useful information on report writing in Element 4 of the notes, including a recommended report structure.

  • Two hands, one holding a world and one holding a tree
    Environmental

    Environmental Responsibilities

    Digital vs Paper – The jury’s out One of the photographs we looked at during a recent NEBOSH Environmental Awareness at Work pilot course featured a pile of waste electronic circuit boards that had been dumped in the corner of a farmer’s field somewhere in south-east Asia. I’m pretty certain that the origin of this waste was discarded computers that had been collected for recycling in the USA. This prompted a discussion in the class not only about the probity of many recycling schemes but also about the significant quantity of resources that we use in making electronic devices.

  • Plastic pollution underwater
    Environmental

    Environmental Impacts

    Which is the fairest of them all? One area that has interested me lately is how impacts on the environment are costed. This topic is more important than you might think, as it is the basis of many environmental laws and taxes. So it relates to all three of the reasons for managing environmental risk, as introduced in Unit 1, Element 1 of the NEBOSH National Diploma in Environmental Management: moral, legal and financial. There are two ways of working out who pays for the costs associated with environmental impacts – and any accountants among you will recognise these terms: internalising the cost, or externalising it. What do these mean?…

  • Landfill full of rubbish
    Environmental

    Corporate Social Responsibility

    Power to the People – Take Two Thinking about Corporate Social Responsibility and how the motivation for it is mainly moral, or ethical – as outlined in Element 2, Unit 1 of the NEBOSH Environmental Certificate – I was interested in the recent tongue-lashing the UK government received from the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) over its plans to introduce a 5p charge on single-use plastic bags from 2015. On the face of it this seems a little harsh, given that plastic bags have been highlighted as a conspicuous waste of resources and an insidious source of pollution for many years. The EU Commission estimates that 800,000 tonnes of plastic…

  • Wind turbines on fields
    Environmental

    Natural Cycles and Their Delicate Environmental Balance

    Being quite a keen cyclist I want to talk to you about natural cycles – no, not about biking around the countryside but how substances and elements are moved around in nature. If you research how long the planet has been in existence you will come up with a figure of 4 billon years, give or take a few million. Yet, even after all this time, substances on which nature relies to exist have not been consumed. This seems a little odd, when you think about it – 4 billon years is a very long time. But it’s because Earth is essentially a closed-loop system: very little gets in and…

  • Environmental ground
    Environmental

    Buying a ‘Stairway to Heaven’ – Or Another ‘Tragedy’?

    Buying a ‘Stairway to Heaven’ – or another ‘Tragedy’? I’ve never been a fan of the idea of environmental “offsetting”. The concept is most frequently applied to greenhouse gas emissions – with which NEBOSH Environmental Certificate students who have studied Element 1 will be familiar – where an organisation (or individual) seeks to compensate for the carbon emissions they cause (usually through using energy) by paying for improvements elsewhere. Carbon offsetting has become institutionalised through regulated schemes such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, and there is also a host of commercial ‘carbon offsets’ that are available for purchase from specialist companies. Carbon offsets are usually sold as tonnes of…

  • Upward looking picture of trees in a forest
    IEMA

    Permit Me to Explain

    Permit Me to Explain Looking through some IEMA Environmental course assignments recently I noted that one subject that seems to cause a lot of confusion. The question of whether a business needs to have an Environmental Permit? The first thing to understand is that permits only apply to certain activities and installations – the latter are known as Regulated Facilities. Students often think companies have to have an environmental permit for their skips and storage of general waste awaiting collection. However, for most businesses this is not the case. Skips and waste storage would only be included in a permit if the main activity, or installation is covered by a…

  • Man in field next to wind turbines
    Environmental

    Identifying Environmental Aspects and Impacts

    Identifying Environmental Aspects and Impacts – Race to The Finish Seven years ago I competed in my first marathon it was hard – very hard. As everyone always says, in the last six miles of the race you hit a wall, and a very well built and extremely big wall it was, too! Something that feels very much like the last few miles of a marathon and which causes students a lot of pain is assessing environmental aspects and impacts – as  covered in Unit 1, Element 3 of the NEBOSH Diploma in Environmental Management: ‘Control Strategies for Environmental Risk’. Often, when I am delivering courses or marking assignments, I…

  • Green & white image of the world with wind turbines
    Environmental

    The World is Not Enough When it Comes to Environmental Awareness

    The eponymous quote is a free translation of James Bond’s family motto Orbis non sufficit (yes, I know he’s a fictional character and I know a better translation is ‘the world is insufficient’). James Bond was right though because, in environmental sustainability terms at least, the world is not enough. The planet does not need saving; it can adapt and look after itself. Instead, it’s us that need saving; saving from a potentially very hostile climate, overpopulation, food shortages, and civil unrest. Optimistically, we try to do the right thing but our natural avarice is stoked by the prod of marketing messages. We may be driven by technology – we…