What is an Environmental Policy?

An environmental policy is an agreed documented statement of a company’s stance towards the environment in which it operates.  The policy is the corner stone of its intent to reduce its carbon emissions, save energy, reduce waste and ensure compliance with environmental legislation.

Unlike a health and safety policy there is no legal requirement to have an environmental policy when your business has five or more employees.  Writing an environmental policy is a voluntary undertaking and the structure and content are not regulated under UK legislation. For businesses intending to obtain certification to a formal EMS, including ISO14001, BS8555 and EMAS, the environmental policy is a vital document for implementation.

Your environmental policy must include a commitment to:

  • comply with environmental legislation
  • continually improvement
  • prevent pollution

Your environmental policy can include a commitment to:

  • reduce pollution, emissions and waste
  • raise awareness and train employees in environmental matters
  • encourage suppliers and contractors to uphold similar environmental standards

Many businesses fall short because they write an environmental policy that is in essence meaningless.  How do you know that your business is legally compliant if you have no understanding of your legal obligations?  Behind every environmental policy, activity should be undertaken to set objectives and targets to reduce your businesses environmental impacts and understand what environmental legislation your businesses needs to adhere to.

The carrot for this is that many businesses will then benefit from resource efficiency savings which will save you money!  Businesses that write an environmental policy but undertaken little or no activity to supplement it miss out on this valuable opportunity.

Free Download Environmental Policy Template

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