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Corporate Responsibility

A quick guide to Environmental Policies

An environmental policy is now an essential rather than optional document defining how an organisation manages its environmental impact.

A policy should show an organisation is aware of its environmental impacts, relevant legislation, and outline actions to address these key areas. Here is a short guide to basic policy requirements and potential progression towards best practice.

All environmental policies should be easy to read and publicly available or available on demand.

A basic policy should include:

  • A commitment to continual environmental performance improvement
  • Recognition of compliance with all relevant environmental legislation & codes of practice
  • A commitment to environmental awareness training for employees
  • A formal monitoring and review process of environmental management on a regular basis
  • The signature of the Chief Executive or senior manager to demonstrate senior level commitment
  • A reference to waste and energy management as a minimum

A statement of commitment to (and stated timeline for) a formal Environmental Management System (EMS) such as ISO 14001 (including the step process BS855 for Small & Medium Enterprises - SMEs) or EMAS (Environmental Management Audit System) is also preferable for larger suppliers.

To go beyond a basic policy;

Suppliers may include specific detail relevant to their own operational or market targets. By placing targets in a formal, accessible document it offers additional accountability and commitment to managing environmental impacts including, for example,

  • Waste reduction
  • Carbon (or other greenhouse gas) emission reduction
  • Energy / fuel reduction
  • Water consumption
  • Transport Planning
  • Nuisance (noise / odour / light) reduction
  • Pollution
  • Solvent reduction
  • Raw material reduction including recycled content / reused material / sustainably sourced (FSC) etc.

Example policy www.balfourbeatty.com/bby/siteware/environmentalpolicyjan09.pdf

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