Are you looking to enact your company’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility? Drafting an environmental policy is a great way to highlight your values and actions. Find out how in this article.
What is an environmental policy?
When a company or organisation chooses – as it is not mandatory – to pay attention to the environmental aspect of its activities and be more aware of, better understand and improve the management of its impact on the environment, it introduces an environmental policy to its processes. Usually, this takes the form of a written declaration signed by company executives. This document contains the company’s objectives and values.
If you want to acquire ISO 14001 certification, an international standard, you should know that establishing an environmental policy is crucial. The ISO 14001 standard provides the Environmental Management System (EMS) with a list of criteria it needs to meet if it hopes to become certified. It requires strict compliance to current legislation and regulations. Special attention also needs to be paid to continuous improvement efforts.
Environmental policies also become vital when you want to prove your commitment to environmental protection to your employees and partners.
How do I draft an environmental policy?
You are free to choose the format of your policy, as no rules or standards have been clearly established. Think about it and come up with a policy that is beneficial to your company, without any significant financial risk. To ensure your wording and objectives make sense, keep these guidelines in mind if appropriate to your activity, or tailor them if that would be compatible and in keeping with your company’s operations:
- Are your company activities changing? Significantly enough to have repercussions for environmental aspects? It might be time to implement a new environmental policy.
- You and your employees pledge to continuously improve your environmental performance.
- Similarly, this collective pledge made by you and your employees is expected for assessing the environmental impacts of your activity.
- Apply the company’s expectations to outsourced services like your suppliers and contractors, or set out new ones.
- Consider the law as a starting point: assure your employees and partners that its expectations are a minimum outcome level and not the ultimate objective.
- For greater effectiveness, prepare your policy ahead of time, while raising employees’ awareness about environmental issues and the effects of their actions on the environment.
- Regularly evaluate the company’s progress against the objectives it wanted to achieve (once a year or in the first six months to start with).
- By creating this environmental policy, you will be sharing the company’s target performance with all your partners, customers, investors and service providers.
Introducing an environmental policy not only requires your full commitment, but also that of all employees and executives. The more people there are in the company who are aware of these issues, the more the initiative will make sense and its impact will be significant. With this in mind, make sure your environmental policy is kept up to date.