Environmental management and organisations
Environmental management and organisations

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

15 Voluntary and compulsory approaches

So far, you have seen that industrial incidents and accidents at local, national and international scales often have some origin in organisational practices and organisational failings. As part of the attempts to avoid these, environmental management in organisations has become shaped, on the one hand, by voluntary codes of practice and self-regulation, and, on the other hand, by compulsory approaches.

Voluntary approaches – or self-regulation – are when an individual organisation or a sector voluntarily subscribes to a specification or code of practice that they or their representatives have developed and drawn up.

Compulsory approaches centre on legislation, such as Acts of Parliament, and their supporting regulations. These are usually written by a recognised legislature (e.g. elected government) or those working under their authority (e.g. government appointed regulatory bodies).

Before we look at each in turn, it is worth noting that as certain voluntary schemes have grown in popularity among organisations, national legislation has moved to incorporate (or at least recognise) aspects of self-regulation. This results in a distinct blurring of the lines between voluntary and compulsory approaches to environmental management.

One such example is the voluntary International Standard ISO 14001, which has become compulsory for organisations wishing to achieve compliance with other environmental management initiatives.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371