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Develop and share an environmental policy

Developing and sharing an environmental policy is a great way to improve the way you manage your resources, achieve cost savings and enhance your corporate image.

By developing an environmental policy, you'll gain a better understanding of how your organisation impacts on the environment, and what you can do to reduce these impacts. In addition, it provides a good opportunity to show your customers how environmentally aware you are.

What is an environmental policy?

An environmental policy is a written statement outlining your organisation’s commitment to managing the environmental impacts of its operations. Typically produced as part of an environmental management system (EMS), it is usually no more than one side of A4 in length and should be free of jargon so it is understandable to all stakeholders.

How to prepare an environmental policy.

To help you get started, we have produced some example environmental policies to let you see the level of detail required and to highlight some of the real issues and priorities faced by businesses in Scotland. But remember, your environmental policy must reflect the most significant impacts your organisation has on the environment. As your organisation is unique in the way its activities impact on the environment, an environmental policy copied from another organisation is unlikely to be wholly appropriate for your circumstances.

It is also worth noting that an environmental policy is not a static document, but should be updated as your organisation’s activities change over time.

To write your environmental policy, you will need to consider all the activities in your organisation that have an impact on the environment. You can then prioritise key areas for improvements, develop sensible targets and write a meaningful environmental policy – or update an existing one. The most appropriate environmental policies are those that reflect an organisation’s most significant impacts on the environment.

Use our free Environmental Policy Checklist to ensure you have addressed the key considerations that should be reflected in your organisation’s environmental policy.

Communicating your policy.

By creating an environmental policy, you will be formalising your organisation’s commitment to improving its environmental performance. To achieve your aims and objectives, this commitment must be secured at the highest level in your organisation and your environmental policy should be endorsed and signed by senior management.

It should then be communicated to your staff and made available publicly to anyone who has an interest in reading it. Indeed, during an audit, your staff would be expected to know you have a policy and where it can be found.

Making your environmental policy publicly available also provides an opportunity to showcase how environmentally aware and proactive you are as an organisation. Many organisations place their environmental policy on their website so that interested parties can read it. Reception areas, notice boards, staff meetings, intranet pages, employee induction packs and contractor or visitor orientation packs can also be used to communicate your environmental policy.

If you already have an environmental policy, check that it has been kept up to date, and that it is published and displayed as shown above. You may also want to ask your colleagues if they know about it or know where it can be found.

If you would like support with an existing project or just want some impartial advice on developing your environmental policy, then please call 0808 808 2268, or email us at enquiries@resourceefficientscotland.com. We are here to help you for free.

 

 

 

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