Implementing an Environmental Management System Using Provenance-By-Design

Luc Moreau, Nicola Hogan, Nick O'Donnell

Research output: Contribution to conference typesPaperpeer-review

61 Downloads (Pure)


Organisations have to comply with environmental regulations to protect the environment and meet internationally agreed climate change targets. To assist organisations, processes and standards are being defined to manage these compliance obligations. They typically rely on a notion of Environmental Management System (EMS), defined as a reflective framework allowing organisations to set and manage their goals, and demonstrate they follow due processes in order to comply with prevailing regulations. The importance of these obligations can be highlighted by the fact that failing to comply may lead to significant liabilities for organisations. An EMS framework, typically structured as a set of documents and spreadsheets, contains a record of continuously evolving regulations, teams, stakeholders, actions and updates. However, the maintainance of an EMS is often human driven, and therefore is error prone despite the meticulousness of environmental officers, and further requires external human auditing to check their validity. To avoid green washing, but also to contain the burden and cost of compliance, it is desirable for these claims to be checked by trusted automated means. Provenance is ideally suited to track the changes occurring in an EMS, allowing queries to determine precisely which compliance objective is prevailing at any point in time, whether it is being met, and who is responsible for it.
Thus, this paper has a dual aim: first, it investigates the benefits of provenance for EMS, second, it presents the application of an emerging approach "Provenance-By-Design'', which automatically converts a specification of an EMS data model and its provenance to a data backend, a service for processing and querying of EMS provenance data, a client-side library to interact with such a service, and a simple user interface allowing developers to navigate the provenance. The application of a Provenance-By-Design approach to EMS applications results in novel opportunities for a provenance-based EMS; we present our preliminary reflection on their potential.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 6 Mar 2023
EventInternational Provenance and Annotation Workshop IPAW'23, Provenance Week'23, the Web Conference 2023 - Austin, United States
Duration: 30 Apr 20231 May 2023


ConferenceInternational Provenance and Annotation Workshop IPAW'23, Provenance Week'23, the Web Conference 2023
Abbreviated titleIPAW'23
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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