The Air Force secretariat's job is to identify goals and performance measures for ESH issues. They have to be tied together, but the key is the performance measure. If it is done properly, and if there is a sound information management system, a review, in essence, is never needed. The information available should help managers determine whether the job is being done properly or not. That is the beauty of the system. It reduces overhead costs. It reduces air staff, the military side of the Pentagon, and allows the people in the field the time to do their Jobs.
The organization's culture has to change from thinking simply about compliance. How can that be achieved if there are no performance measures to facilitate the change in the culture? Performance indicators can be separated into measures and standards. Examples of measures include effectiveness of training, no adverse press, EHS factors in financial decisions, and performance evaluations. Examples of standards are numbers of spills and releases, environmental penalties paid, number of audits, and injury frequency rate. Goals are changing but it is amazing how many managers do not know how performance measures relate back to the goal. The goal has to be there first.
One of the biggest problems that government agencies face is that they work by budget management, in which money is allocated and the agency spends it. The faster it is spent, the better chance that the agency, will get more. The difficulty with that is that it is counterintuitive to good business sense.
ESH activities, whether in business or government, generally are paid for from the overhead account. Taking these activities out of the overhead account to develop a cost center is a difficult and expensive task. How then, can one identify the costs of ESH systems?
The tools to do so exist. The Air Force is seeking to identify the old cost drivers and use them to determine the true costs to the ESH. These include the cost of materials, such as plastics, energy, electrical energy, nonproduct output and unused materials. How much of that material is purchased but never used? What is the cost of permitting and of pollutant releases? One goal is to change the way people think in terms of the amount and the kinds of materials and energy they use.
The best ESH system in the world needs to be incorporated into the organization's overall management system. Then, attention must be focused on cost accounting practices. The Air Force needs to build business cases for its ESH dollars, but to do so, the costs of doing business must be known. The Air Force is moving forward with an integrated ESH policy, acknowledging that