A comparison of Environmental Management System (EMS) applied by large manufacturing companies in Amata Nakorn Industrial Town and other areas of Chonburi Province, Thailand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Management at Massey University, New Zealand
Industrial pollution is one the most critical environmental problems facing Thailand at the present time. Therefore, control of industrial pollution is of the highest priority to the Thai government. Problems associated with industrial pollution place significant limitations on the potential growth of manufacturing industries in Thailand, because international trade today requires not only manufactured products of a high quality but also a commitment to high environmental standards by manufacturing companies (European Commission Environment Directorate-General, 2001; Ken, 2004). This thesis investigated the major dimensions of the quality of the Environmental Management System (EMS) in large size manufacturers, that are located both inside and outside of industrial towns in Chonburi Province, Thailand. In particular, the research examined whether different stakeholders had the same or different perceptions about these dimensions. The study used both qualitative and quantitative methods to collect information from four groups of stakeholders: Thailand's government officers in the government agencies concerned about environmental policy; top management within manufacturers; the manufacturers' staff at management level; and the local communities. A survey was carried out involving the government officers and top management staff within manufacturers. The qualitative data were collected from documentaries, interviews and observations. The triangulation of methods and data permitted the comparison of the perceptions of the manufacturers' staff, from both inside and outside of industrial towns. The data were structured into the four major parts of an EMS: the performance agreement for the environmental programme; the plan for transformation implementation; the standards and processes; and the continuous improvement process. The survey results show that manufacturers in the Town use ISO 14001. Two of the three manufacturers, outside the Town use TQM / TQEM as their EMS and the other manufacturer, also from outside the Town, does not have any EMS within their company. The results also show that the factories in the Town, that used IS0 14001 and the factories outside of the Town that used TQM ITQEM, are similar in the four major parts of the EMS. However, they still have some processes which are notably different, such as the manufacturers that use ISO 14001 have better documentary systems, additional budgets for training staff and larger budgets to publicise, to the local communities, the companies' activities relating to their environmental management. However, the TQM / TQEM and Thailand's environmental legislation are more flexible and they allow companies to create environmental management activities. Finally, the results suggest that there are three main factors that may effect the achievement of environmental management within manufacturers in Thailand. They are: the human factor (knowledge and awareness about the environment); the processes factor (green production and EMS processes); and the legislation factor (environmental standards, monitoring and enforcement systems).