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
- Solvent reduction
- Raw material reduction including recycled content / reused material / sustainably sourced (FSC) etc.