Since 2001, NAEM has been tracking the evolution of the EHS MIS marketplace through a bi-annual benchmarking survey of users. This week we caught up with Margery Moore, Director of EHS Strategic Alliances at BNA, to discuss the 2011 survey and her perspective on the category today.
The Green Tie: What is an environmental management information system (EMIS) and how does it help improve EHS and sustainability performance?
An environmental management information system, or EMIS, is part of a billion-dollar-industry that, at its heart, is focused on compliance.
Increasingly, the data companies have has been traditionally managed (i.e. air, waste, water types of pollution impacts) is becoming a hot commodity within the context of climate or sustainability management. As such, tracking and managing carbon and greenhouse gases (GHG) is becoming more commonplace. This is reflected in the new types of modules and features available in EMIS. This growth area is also reflected in brand new software companies popping up to handle just GHG and carbon.
Does the use of a software tool make a company sustainable? No. But it does allow a company to better manage and analyze their data, and hopefully, make better decisions.
The Green Tie: You’ve been working on this survey since 2001. What changes have you seen over time?
The market has definitely grown, then contracted in the early 2000’s as larger companies bought smaller software companies to gain access to new features or customers.
More recently, we’ve seen a small explosion of sustainability and climate/carbon tracking software. Time will tell, however, what sticks.
The Green Tie: New on the survey this year is a question about social media. Why is this important?
The use of social media tools is having an impact, as environment, health and safety (EHS) professionals start to blog and use Twitter. A few years ago, that was unheard of! The public now demands transparency, and they expect their employers and companies in general to provide that.
Social media is also empowering the average consumer in incredible ways. You can use your phone and download an app, scan a product code, and Good Guide will tell you its eco-rating! Pretty cool. That is just one example.
The Green Tie: What are you most interested in learning from this year’s survey?
How social media is impacting companies, and the hot new features software providers are now offering. It also will be very interesting to see if budgeting for EMISs has changed over the past two years. 2008-9 were terrible years for spending. Have we recovered? Big question.
The Green Tie: Do you think people are surprised by how much others spend on EMIS?
Yes, frankly. Those outside the industry are shocked when I tell them it’s a more than billion-dollar-a-year industry! But, when you explain that each company probably has hundreds of environmental, health and safety regulations to comply with, each with its own data requirements to prove compliance, it’s clear that software is the only way to go. Can you imagine trying to do this in Excel or on paper? It would be a nightmare.
To benchmark your software system against your peers, take the 2011 EHS MIS benchmarking survey. Respondents will receive a copy of the results. To learn more about the latest ways to improve your EHS performance through data management, join NAEM in San Antonio on March 2 and 3 for the 2011 EHS MIS conference.