A Conceptual Model of Environmental Management System for Sustainable Cities

Egle Katiliute, Ingrida Kazlauskienė


Purpose. The aim of the paper is to identify the theoretical links between environmental management system and sustainable city development and to form the conceptual model.

Methodology. The paper is built on the analysis and synthesis of scientific literature which enable to describe the concepts of environmental management system and sustainable city development. A content analysis methodology was used to analyse the sustainable development information issues (especially environmental indicators) from reports published on websites of cities. The chosen method allows to stress the relevance of environmental management system for sustainable city development.

Results. Research findings showed that the environmental management system is relevant tool for sustainable city development, especially for better environmental indicators. Analysis of mostly used environmental management systems and standards (ISO 14001, EMAS, ecoBUDGET, CLEAR) revealed that most relevant management instrument for sustainable city development is EMAS. EMAS helps to the city council to manage key environmental indicators and to improve environmental performance, involve all stakeholders (society and its organizations, business representatives, controlling and related institutions), to monitor environmental indicators. Review of city cases provides evidences of EMAS positive impact to sustainable city development, not only environmental development, but also social development.

The theoretical contribution. The development potential of cities is all too often crippled by environmental deterioration. Aside from its obvious effects on human health and wellbeing, environmental degradation directly holds back economic development. For development achievements to be truly sustainable, cities must find better ways of balancing the needs and pressures of urban growth and development with the opportunities and constraints of the urban environment. Environmental deterioration of cities becomes actual problem analysed nor only by scientists (Levitan, Bassow, 2003; Decker, 2001; Andersson, 2001; Emilsson, 2005; Botta, Comoglio, 2006, 2013; Sitnikov, 2012), but also by environment-conscious organizations (EC - European Commission, EPA – Environmental Protections Agency, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, UEM - Urban Environmental Management, Sustainablecities.eu, IDEMS - Integration & Development of Environmental Management System and etc.). Our literature analysis reveals that research on the evaluation of sustainable cities development initiatives is still at an emerging state. There is a lack of empirical research on environmental city management tolls, their appropriateness and effectiveness. Formed the conceptual model indicates how to use EMAS for sustainable city development. Using the results of the paper the instruments for quantitative and qualitative methods of empirical research can be developed in order to get empirical data for link between sustainable cities development and EMAS.

Practical implications. Most cities are looking for ways how to ensure the quality of living environment. The practical understanding and application of sustainability are keys to improving the life quality of a community. Theoretical model will be framework for further research. Empirically approved practical recommendations of implementing EMAS to cities governance institutions might become a significant contribution to sustainable cities development.

Keywords: Sustainable city development, environment management system, EMAS.

Paper type: Theoretical paper.


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