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How to Write an Environmental Policy

Important Environmental PoliciesAn Environmental Policy is a formal way for your organisation to express commitment to environmental management and improvement. It’s become an essential document today if you want to do business with government or most multinationals.

Most organisations combine their environmental management with occupational health and safety responsibilities. Yet the majority of businesses we talk to do not have an up-to-date Environmental Policy. To help you write your own Environmental Policy here are three easy steps to follow:

Step One

State your commitment at the highest management level. The strength and value of a policy is assessed by the signature at the bottom. Nothing is better than the CEO or owner level sign off to ensure everyone takes this seriously. Make sure all staff are involved and that responsibilities are clearly outlined. The policy and how it affects the business should be communicated widely.

Step Two

Be clear how business activities impact the environment. Review all activities as well as issues that you are already tackling. An environmental audit will help you to identify the full range of issues. Ensure you take into account all relevant regulations or standards whether or not you are legally compliant with them. Look for areas of non-compliance where you can set targets for improvement.

Step Three

Set out the framework for solving or addressing the impacts you have identified. Be realistic with your targets – some areas of improvement will need to be managed over a longer period. One tip is to divide each area of risk into specific objectives. Each objective can then be further detailed in other documents like the business plan. The aim should be to set out a policy for continuous improvement. Targets and the policy itself should be reviewed regularly Just having an environmental policy will mean little unless it is kept up to date.

If you would like to see what a typical policy looks here’s a sample that you’re welcome to download and use: Sample Environmental Policy.

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

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