Environmental management




Context and issues  

There are 25,000 to 32,000 industrial parks in France, i.e. a surface area of approximately 450,000 ha. Their environmental quality is often poor, in particular the older ones. Due to the concentration of businesses in the same area, the environmental impact can be significant. More generally, industrial parks are often poorly managed and insufficiently maintained although these areas of activity constitute a genuine challenge in terms of territorial offer. This is why local authorities are now undertaking sustained actions not only for the creation or extension of industrial parks but also for the requalification of deteriorated or derelict areas. This is a perfect opportunity to initiate a collective environmental quality approach by going beyond aesthetic considerations. This will reinforce the economic development and attractiveness of the territory, as demonstrated by several experiments presented herewith.


Actions targeting environmental quality yield numerous benefits for businesses: fulfilling new requirements, sharing resources and costs, developing synergies, creating another corporate culture, etc. For their part, local authorities wish to promote their territory and preserve its assets by involving economic stakeholders in their sustainable development approaches. This reciprocal interest paves the way for a concerted consultation of all those involved and the renewal of industrial park management practices.  


From an Environmental Management System...
The implementation of an environmental management system by the managers of trading estates seems to be a crucial element for achieving the sustained environmental quality of these parks and responding to the new expectations of companies and territories. This approach will enable managers to focus their actions on their environmental policy via an organisation which takes the environment into account as part of a continuous improvement process at all operational levels. In addition, this approach makes it possible to encourage and support businesses.


... to the collective management of the environment in business parks

However, companies cannot take the environment into account without developing a collective environmental management system covering the entire activity area. Small and medium-sized businesses and industries do not generally have the human, technical and financial resources to implement an environmental management policy. Due to these constraints, collective and economically viable solutions must be envisaged.

This type of approach is being broadly developed in the domain of industrial waste management. It facilitates the creation of synergies between businesses and its joint approach generates economies of scale. The involvement and support of local stakeholders is a key success factor for these projects.

Industrial parks, clusters of businesses in the same geographical area, facilitate the implementation of this type of approach. Collective management processes can cover larger territories such as regions, in which case actions are usually associated with economic sectors.

Local companies are encouraged to commit to this approach.
Application examples can currently be found in:

  • the collective management of industrial waste,
  • the collective management of liquid discharge,
  • the combined purchase of equipment for the prevention of accidental pollution,
  • collective energy management, etc.


  • 90% of small and medium-sized businesses and industries are in breach of the environment legislation,
  • no staff available to implement an environmental management system
  • and no obvious need for full-time staff,
  • existing impact often too limited to attract service providers
  • services or goods with a management cost not economically viable,
  • limited access to information and support



The collective management of the environment can be defined as a joint approach between various environment stakeholders seeking solutions which make it possible to:  


  • generate economies of scale,
  • integrate environmental management at a reduced cost,
  • implement optimised solutions adapted to user requirements,
  • find solutions which are not individually affordable,
  • enable small and medium-sized businesses and industries to combine economic development and the minimisation of environmental impact.



This approach can be achieved via:


  • a collective approach to problems and solutions: grouping companies together to negotiate service contracts, manage treatment facilities, develop technical solutions often difficult for companies on their own, etc.
  • sharing the cost of an expert in environmental management among a group of employers such as CEPIEs (Employment Centre for Environmental Performance and Information) for example.

Triggering elements


Reflections on the collective management of the environment can be triggered by:


  • the rehabilitation of the area,
  • the extension of the area,
  • a proposition from service providers,
  • the local authority’s renegotiation of the use of its treatment facilities: for example as part of a wastewater treatment plant usage agreement or the implementation of special fees.

Key factors and crucial points

Based on existing examples, we can identify certain elements:


  • existence of a link uniting companies: association of industrial companies, etc.
  • presence of a pilot entity and permanent coordinator,
  • presence of an area manager,
  • the service providers participate in the establishment of the specifications,
  • diversification and flexibility of the technical solutions to be selected,
  • local environment players are committed to and supportive of the approach.



There can be several difficulties:


  • difficulty in mobilising companies for this type of project,
  • complex financial arrangements of the operation and subsidy allocation timeframe,
  • choice of technical solutions and drafting of the specifications.



Quality Charter

The purpose of an environmental quality charter is to reconcile economic activities and the consideration of the environment on the scale of trading estate:


- it mobilises the different stakeholders and partners wishing to implement an environmental quality process based on common objectives,


- it reflects the input of these stakeholders by presenting the environmental policy of the territory and associated actions,


- it initiates a dialogue with the different institutions and local stakeholders. Because of the commitment required of the different partners and signatories, this approach must be voluntary and the drafting of the charter itself must be the result of a reflection and coordination process with regard to the actions to be undertaken by everyone to improve or sustain the environmental quality of the trading estate(s).





A genuine decision-making aid tool, pre-environmental diagnostics provide industrial park managers and/or local authorities with a cross-sectional perception of the environmental issues of the area examined. This snapshot of the area at a given time is also accompanied by propositions and tentative guidelines to establish a prioritised plan of actions.

To support local stakeholders who wish to undertake this type of approach, Orée offers a methodology for the pre-environmental diagnostic of industrial parks, organised into 3 stages:

  • coordination of information and awareness meetings for the stakeholders concerned,
  • completion of a pre-diagnostic of the area including individual business interviews,
  • report drafting and presentation including prioritised action propositions.



The recognition of your environmental management system by a third party (certification or verification body) guarantees compliance with the requirements of the selected reference framework (ISO 14 001 or Eco-Audit). This third party must be accredited by the French accreditation Committee (Cofrac).



Environmental communication must anticipate and respond to the questions raised by customers, local residents, the company and staff.

There are currently very few communication approaches relating to environmental actions in industrial parks.
Several stakeholders are likely to communicate on this subject: managers, local authorities, developers, business associations, economic expansion committees.

As part of a partnership project, concerted communication will facilitate the definition of targets specific to each partner. Disseminating environment-related information both internally and externally has become essential to promote your efforts or even influence reactions.

Orée’s working groups on the environmental management of trading estates has created a technical data sheet on environmental action communication in trading estates.


Experiences and stakeholders

One of the tasks of Orée  is to encourage feedback and sharing of experience, in particular via the working groups on the environmental management of trading estates.
This objective can be achieved thanks to, among other things, networking, which facilitates exchanges between managers.


Orée, with help from the environment ministry and in conjunction with the United Nations Environment programme, initiated the creation of a European network of managers of environmentally friendly trading estates, making it possible to organise exchanges.

Orée experience sheets present examples of innovative environmental approaches at national and international level.