Applicability of an environmental system for Finnish Road Administration

Ymparistojarjestelman soveltuminen Tiehallinnolle

The purpose of the thesis is to study best practices and challenges relating to the building of environmental systems and the environmental management of public sector organisations. The results are based on interviews carried out in the administrative domain of the Ministry of Transport and Communications Finland and on international reference material. On the basis of the interviews, the strengths and development needs of Finnish Road Administration's environmental management are identified, and the applicability of a system complying with ISO 14001 to Finnish Road Administration is assessed. In addition, the opportunities for developing environmental work in Finnish Road Administration are reviewed. The need for systematic management of environmental issues is constantly growing in public sector organisations. With a system, environmental issues can be integrated into the overall management and practical work of the organisation. The wide reach of environmental impacts arising from the activities of public sector organisations makes it necessary for organisations to carry on varied forms of cooperation with different stakeholder groups when building up their environmental systems. The most important benefits brought by an environmental system are, on the basis of reference material drawn from international research, more efficient management and improved acceptability of environmental issues, and in addition greater predictability of changes in the decision-making structure relating to environmental issues. The central challenges that emerged for building a system concerned the commitment of management and other personnel, the procurement of sufficient resources and integration of the system as a continuous process that forms part of the organisation's operations. The results of interviews carried out during the study in the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Finavia, the Finnish Rail Administration, the Finnish Maritime Administration and Finnish Road Administration were in agreement with the reference material. The interviews showed that in the most progressive organisations, management and other personnel are strongly committed to environmental management. Sufficient resources are also allocated for this purpose. The pioneer organisations have built up environmental management systems complying with the ISO 14001 standard. The system's tools in active use include the management audit. The less progressive organisations do not have an environmental management system complying with the standard and they experience difficulties in making their environmental management productive and integrating them into the normal work routines. On the basis of the results of the study, the strengths of Finnish Road Administration are internal and external cooperation with stakeholders, the linking of environmental issues with planning and execution of road projects and the systematic work carried out since the 1970s to improve environmental management. The organisation's most important development needs are: increasing the commitment of management, allocating more resources to environmental management and incorporating environmental management into different processes and areas of the organisation's operations. The Finnish Road Administration causes significant environmental impacts as a result of its considerable procurement activities. The inclusion of environmental aspects in both planning and procurement documents and practices is an important factor for the comprehensive management of environmental issues throughout the organisation's field of activity. Finnish Road Administration uses various elements of an environmental system complying with ISO 14001. Environmental management is in part fairly systematic, but it is disconnected from the organisation's other activities. A system built up to comply more closely with the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard would bring added value to the environmental work of Finnish Road Administration. This report may be found at


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  • Accession Number: 01104618
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: TRL
  • ISBN: 978-951-803-977-1
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Jul 17 2008 12:50PM