Green Friday - writing an environmental policy

Posted by Cath Flitcroft on 31/07/2009

An environmental policy is a written statement outlining your company's mission and the driving force behind your environmental objectives, targets and management procedures.

The policy should:

  • state the company's aims and objectives.  Should be endorsed and actively supported by senior management and accepted by all staff.
     
  • allow management to communicate its aims and objectives to employees and other interested parties, including shareholders, customers and suppliers.
     
  • be part of any business strategy and where possible outline steps for implementation.

Writing an environmental policy is a voluntary undertaking in the UK, and the structure and content are not regulated under UK legislation.

However, for companies wishing to obtain a recognised environmental quality, you should try to obtain certification to a formal Environmental Management System (EMS), including the international standard ISO14001 and the EU Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).  Find out more at:

  • IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment) provides a portal on all EMSs. This can be found at  www.iema.net/ems/home
     
  • Detailed guidance on writing an environmental policy is in the IEMA phase 1 manual of BS8555. The manual provides a user-friendly companion document for SMEs wishing to make a start on the road towards an EMS by using the implementation process outlined in the British Standard BS 8555.
     
  • Business Link has guidance on its website
     
  • Contact your local authority to ask them for more advice and local environmental award schemes and incentives that they may be running.

For examples of environmental policies you can read the BMC Environmental Policy and associated Climate Change document. The Castle Climbing Centre and the Westway Sports Centre have comprehensive environmental policies and Plas Y Brenin also has an environmental improvement plan in place for 2009. 



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