Enhancing the application of the Environmental Management System (EMS) in the UAE aluminium industry
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Aluminium is widely used in all UAE construction related projects. However, the sustainability and the environmental performance of the aluminium production process is questionable. The production of this metal is associated with many environmental impacts, such as intensive energy consumption, emission of greenhouse gases, and generation of waste, which impacts the sustainable production of aluminium. One of the sustainable solutions is to create a sustainable metal whilst also making a positive net impact on the environment over the life cycle of aluminium products. Environment Management System (EMS) is proposed as an effective tool to control environmental impacts and improve the environmental performance of UAE upstream aluminium production industry. The question that this study tries to answer is how to effectively implement the EMS in order to control and manage the environmental and sustainability aspects of the UAE aluminium industry. This study reveals several gaps in the implementation of the EMS in the UAE aluminium industry such as inconsistent leadership commitment, weak communication, and poor environmental training quality. The aim of this study is to propose a framework for enhancing the implementation of the EMS in UAE aluminium industry. Firstly, the aim is achieved through conducting a questionnaire to identify external and internal factors affecting the implementation of EMS and diagnose its current status. Secondly, a case study is formulated to verify the findings obtained through the questionnaire by collecting on-site observations and conducting interviews of management and operational staff. Thirdly, a framework for effective implementation of EMS in UAE aluminium industry is proposed based on the elements found during the questionnaire and the case study stages. Finally, a robust qualitative and quantitative validation process of the proposed framework is conducted to achieve the final EMS framework output. The proposed EMS framework for UAE aluminium industry is envisaged to be mandatory for the industry and it includes human, organizational and systemic aspects. In addition, it tackles legal framework gaps identified in the UAE aluminium industry and prescribes an enhanced implementation process of the EMS in the UAE aluminium industry. This study contributes to the knowledge by adding a customized EMS framework for UAE aluminium industry. Further recommendations as a result of this study include cumulatively evaluating the EMS practices for all available aluminium production and recycling stages, testing the framework when implemented in the aluminium industry and linking environmental planning and management outcomes for the aluminium industry. Moreover, it is proposed that a life cycle assessment inventory be created to feed into the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) process gap identified in the UAE aluminium industry.