EPA’s environmental performance

Environmental Management Systems


Under the Government EMS program, all departments are required to have their EMS audited annually by an environmental auditor appointed under the Environment Protection Act 1970.

The Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability has committed to an annual strategic audit EMS of Victorian Government departments and agencies. For more information on this process and copies of previous audit reports, access the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability Victoria website.

Environmental reporting requirements

From 2003 onwards, participating departments, agencies and authorities were required to report in their annual reports on their performance in reducing their office-based environmental impacts. They are also required to include a statement on their environmentally responsible purchasing activities in support of the objectives of the Government's Environmental Purchasing Policy. The data for inclusion in annual reports will be derived from the department's EMS.

For further information on the Government's Environmental Reporting requirements, access the Department of Treasury and Finance website or call (03) 9651 5111.


To assist Government departments to implement their EMS, the following resources are available:


FAQs about Environmental management systems + Expand all Collapse all

  • What is an EMS?

    An environmental management system (EMS) is a program that can be used to identify, manage and reduce an organisation's impact on the environment and generate reports on environmental performance progress. It provides a systematic and methodical approach to planning, implementing and reviewing an organisation's response to those impacts.

    An EMS does not set environmental standards, but sets out procedures designed to meet the environmental performance requirements that are most relevant to the organisation. It can also be integrated with other management systems (such as Occupational Health and Safety) to give a whole of business approach.

    By implementing an EMS, an organisation can ensure that addressing environmental issues is thoroughly explicitly incorporated into normal business operations.

    While industry has led the uptake of EMS, a broad range of organisations (including small to medium enterprises, government agencies and schools) are implementing EMSs.

    EMS models have been developed throughout the world, including ISO 14001, the European Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) and the British Standard (BS7750). While there are differences between these models, they all incorporate the general principles of an EMS, for example:

    • appointment of an environment manager or environment team, who is responsible for the EMS and for ensuring organisational commitment
    • establishment of an environment policy for the organisation
    • identification of significant environmental aspects (activities) and impacts
    • identification of relevant legislative and regulatory requirements
    • identification of environmental priorities and establishment of environmental objectives and targets
    • development and implementation of an environment management program (this includes assigning responsibilities for undertaking actions)
    • establishment of a monitoring, review and reporting program to review effectiveness of the program, to report to management on implementation and to undertake any corrective action
    • ensuring that the EMS is based on the premise of continued improvement.
  • What are the aims?

    The Government has introduced the EMS program to achieve a number of objectives, including:

    • contribute to the achievement of environmental outcomes through minimising the release of greenhouse gases, reducing waste and conserving energy, and other resources
    • drive cultural change across Government in relation to integrating environmental considerations into daily activities
    • demonstrate the Government's commitment to leading by example by taking action to reduce environmental impacts associated with its own operations
    • contribute to the achievement of efficiency gains and resulting financial savings by reducing the use of office-based resources such as paper and electricity
    • maintain Victoria's leadership in transparency and openness in performance reporting by Government.
  • What does the EMS cover?

    Each participating department, agency or authority was required to develop an EMS to reduce its office-based environmental impacts resulting from:

    • energy use in buildings and facilities
    • waste production
    • paper consumption
    • transportation
    • water consumption
    • green purchasing
    • greenhouse impacts
  • Who is involved?

    Environmental management systems have been implemented across the 10 major State departments and several State agencies and authorities:

    • Education and Early Childhood Development
    • Human Services
    • Health
    • Transport, planning and local infrastructure
    • State Development, Business and Innovation
    • Justice
    • Premier and Cabinet
    • Environment and Primary Industries
    • Treasury and Finance
    • EPA Victoria
    • Sustainability Victoria (formerly EcoRecycle and Sustainable Energy Authority Victoria).

    Additional Government agencies and statutory authorities are also encouraged to develop and implement an EMS.

Page last updated on 6 Mar 2014