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Chapter 3. Management Programs

Provided by IFC Sustainable Business Advisory


Management Programs are centered on Action Plans and improved procedures to avoid, minimize or compensate for the risks and impacts that were identified.

For example, if you have a policy commitment to avoid discrimination in the workplace and you have identified this as a risk factor based on the lack of a system for employees to express their complaints, you may implement a complaint procedure as a way to minimize the risk of discrimination. Or, if one of your policy objectives is the reduction of solid waste and you have identified this as a risk factor because of the high percentage of organic waste produced in your plant, you may take action by building a composting facility to avoid sending organic waste to the landfill. 

First, attempt to take actions to avoid or prevent the negative impacts. For example, suppose you are expanding operations and have identified potable water as a key risk. You might change your new facility location or design it differently, so that you avoid contamination of groundwater close to homeowners and communities. Or, suppose you have identified a certain preservative process that exposes workers to toxic chemicals and pollutes the local river system. You might design your product mix to avoid this process or find alternate preservation methods.
In many cases, complete avoidance is not possible – you may not be able to relocate or find alternative processes or materials. In these cases, you should try to minimize the impact. For example, suppose that you are located in an area where women are traditionally given lower status and less access to education, and in the workplace they are often mistreated by male co-workers and supervisors. The local cultural context and the need to hire both men and women is unavoidable. It is important to pay attention to your recruitment, hiring and training procedures, to make sure that women are hired on equitable terms and given equal access to training and promotion opportunities. You can also develop non-discrimination procedures to ensure that rules for recruitment, hiring and training are clear for everyone to follow. Additionally, you can conduct training to make sure that everyone is aware of and follows the procedures.
In some cases, it may not be possible to completely avoid or minimize certain negative impacts. Then you should find ways to offset them with comparable positive impacts or provide compensation to those impacted. For example, suppose your operation uses a large amount of water. Despite taking action to minimize water consumption, there are still periods of the year when water becomes scarce in the local community. You might collaborate with community leaders to dig new wells or provide alternate sources of drinking water.

IDENTIFYING PREVENTIVE AND CORRECTIVE ACTIONS

It is good practice to emphasize preventive and proactive actions: (1) try to avoid causing social or environmental damage; (2) if not possible, then minimize the impact; (3) if not possible, then compensate or offset the damage. 

prioritize.jpg

First, attempt to take actions to avoid or prevent the negative impacts. For example, suppose you are expanding operations and have identified potable water as a key risk. You might change your new facility location or design it differently, so that you avoid contamination of groundwater close to homeowners and communities. Or, suppose you have identified a certain preservative process that exposes workers to toxic chemicals and pollutes the local river system. You might design your product mix to avoid this process or find alternate preservation methods.

In many cases, complete avoidance is not possible – you may not be able to relocate or find alternative processes or materials. In these cases, you should try to minimize the impact. For example, suppose that you are located in an area where women are traditionally given lower status and less access to education, and in the workplace they are often mistreated by male co-workers and supervisors. The local cultural context and the need to hire both men and women is unavoidable. It is important to pay attention to your recruitment, hiring and training procedures, to make sure that women are hired on equitable terms and given equal access to training and promotion opportunities. You can also develop non-discrimination procedures to ensure that rules for recruitment, hiring and training are clear for everyone to follow. Additionally, you can conduct training to make sure that everyone is aware of and follows the procedures.

In some cases, it may not be possible to completely avoid or minimize certain negative impacts. Then you should find ways to offset them with comparable positive impacts or provide compensation to those impacted. For example, suppose your operation uses a large amount of water. Despite taking action to minimize water consumption, there are still periods of the year when water becomes scarce in the local community. You might collaborate with community leaders to dig new wells or provide alternate sources of drinking water.

WRITING AN EFFECTIVE ACTION PLAN

Whatever actions you decide to take, think of them as a continual improvement process - you will need to set targets, set deadlines, measure the results, and adjust the plans if neces­sary. You need to assign responsibilities and start to involve the right internal people and departments.

As you develop your Action Plans, these are the key questions that you need to think about:

• What – environmental and social risks you want to address

• How – related actions and procedures to be implemented to address the risk

• Why – reasons (objectives) for the actions and procedures, and the expected results (targets)

• When – timeframe and deadlines

• Who – responsible people

suitcasesmall.jpg Use the Toolkit item Action Plan Chart to get started.

 

WRITING AN EFFECTIVE PROCEDURE

Operational control procedures serve as step-by-step instructions for workers, supervisors and managers. They allow for everyone to have a common understanding of how to behave. They enable the rules to be followed even when there is staff turnover. Clear, detailed procedures help to embed your social and environmental policies into your daily operations.

It is a good practice to document your procedures. The key is to make your procedures as clear and as brief as possible. You can use text, checklists, flowcharts, or simple illustrations. The format for your procedure can vary depending on the audience. A written procedure may be more appropriate for managers and supervisors, while illustrations may be useful when dealing with less literate or immigrant workers. Keep your procedure as short and simple as possible.

Simply documenting a procedure is not enough. Effective implementation is the ultimate goal. Most importantly, employees need to be aware that a new procedure exists and understand why it is important to follow. They need the skills and knowledge to be able to implement it. This is achieved through routine communication and effective training. You will learn more about this in the next chapter, Organizational Capacity and Competency.

Finally, you must ensure that your employees have access to the current version of each procedure. Out-of-date documentation should be removed or clearly marked as outdated to ensure that no one unintentionally follows the old procedure.

suitcasesmall.jpg Use the Toolkit item Outline of Procedure and the Sample Procedure Flowchart to get started.

 

<Go to ESMS Implementation Handbook Main Page

<Go back to Chapter 2. Identification of Risks and Impacts

>Proceed to Chapter 4. Case Studies

Copyright © 2016 IFC Corporate Governance.  All Rights Reserved.

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