IQEM:   Integrated Quality and
Environmental Management

E! 1892   (endorsed April '98)

IQEM: Project Summary Description

Summary of the First Years's development in the Endbericht Januar-Dezember 1999 (in German).

Quality, safety and environmental control standards are becoming part of daily requirements for most industries and economic activities.

The ISO 9000 quality standard is already widely accepted - and expected - throughout the industry, and in fact non-complying suppliers are being dropped from the supply chain in many cases.

On the environmental dimension two different systems are competing in the marketplace: ISO 14001 and EMAS. If - as many people fear - we end up with a two-speed environmental management system option with EMAS being the more 'demanding' and ISO the 'lower' standard, the implications for companies are difficult to evaluate.

In the safety area, problems associated with occupational safety, manipulation of hazardous substances and hazardous operations (e.g., European Directives 91/155, 93/112 and 92/68/EC for large installations) raise considerable problems as well and need to be integrated with the quality systems.

In the environmental domain, Both EMAS and ISO 14000 raise new problems, unknown to the ISO 9000 application, namely the difference in existing national disparities in technological, political, social, and legal

frameworks for environmental protection and enforcement.

ISO 14001 requires that organizations have knowledge of these laws, commit to comply with them, and establish processes that bring and maintain such compliance. This will be particularly true for those operating in several countries. There may be a strong tendency and desire to use the same test to evaluate management systems in different countries, which may lead either to non-compliance in particular cases or to surplus expenditure in others. The differences in enforcement regimes are even larger.

The purpose of the IQEM project is to develop tools to help companies establish integrated quality, safety and environmental management systems, in particular in a multinational environment and diverse regulation and enforcement situation. The system has two different components:

  • In-Industry or Intranet component, including a database, client programs systems in an Intranet client-server implementation, allowing for the implementation, control and monitoring of the three standard systems;

  • Internet (or Extranet) component, storing national regulations and laws, European directives and standards, etc., thus allowing for a unique reference for companies preparing the certification and for auditors to check compliance.

Technological Developments Envisaged

The project combines two different sets of tools: In-industry tools, that will be installed and used locally, and Internet based tools, which will be operated by a network of entities related with ISO certification, providing data, regulations and laws.

The Intranet tools include: a database for ISO documentation generation, approval and controlled dissemination, tools for Quality system monitoring, tools for Environmental Monitoring and models for the evaluation of the environmental impact of the on-going activities

for energy, material flow and waste stream analysis, emission inventories, etc. coupled to simple impact assessment tools for air and water quality and noise, or fault and event-tree models for safety analysis.

The Internet based tools include a database component and a set of more complex verification tools, supposed to help both registers and consultants to verify compliance and interchange knowledge about the European context.

International cooperation

The subject area of the project is international by nature: ISO standards and related tools are a growing market niche. Chiron and ESS complement each other in terms of know-how and experience: Chiron has a solid basis in terms of database development, quality information systems and river modeling.
ESS has a considerable reputation in the

modeling and expert systems areas. Both companies have long traditions in terms of innovative developments: ESS has its roots in the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, IIASA, and Chiron has its roots in UNINOVA. Both directors have a solid reputation in the management of international research and development projects.

Market Application & Exploitation

In 1995 there were only a few companies with EMAS registration in Europe; in 1996 there were 133 registered companies and the number is growing exponentially.

ISO 9000 certified companies are now in the thousands.

A recent report showed that the single major non-compliance reason was document control, resulting from paper based systems. A market study on the USA offer of ISO 9000 management systems shows that the offer in USA is growing, but there are no European based competitors and, to our knowledge, there are no truly integrated systems.

Copyright 1995-2002 by:   ESS   Environmental Software and Services GmbH AUSTRIA