Legal 101

What is an environmental policy?

Adam ElkholyAdam Elkholy
Last updated on:
July 18, 2022
Published on:
July 18, 2022

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An environmental policy shows how a company deals with the impact of its operations on the environment. The policy sets out the environmental objectives, principles and targets of the company. This article will explore the benefits of having an environmental policy and tips on how to write an environmental policy.

What are the benefits of an environmental policy?

There are many benefits to having an environmental policy, especially for startups looking to secure funding from investors. An environmental policy helps a company achieve its target as to the environmental impact of their operation and prepare their environmental reports as part of their corporate reporting. Additionally, investors and insurers use environmental policies as an indicator of how well a company is managed. The environmental policy can also be a tool to achieve Certified Environmental Management Standards (EMS) such as ISO14001 and Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). By achieving a certified EMS, a company is showing that their environmental management system meets the international standards required for these certificates and their customers. Finally, having a publicly available environmental policy can create a better relationship with the communities the business engages with.

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How to write an environmental policy?

Assess the environmental impact of the company

Before writing an environmental policy, the environmental impact must be assessed. This includes the positive and negative environmental effects of the company’s operations. It also includes the active steps the company has already taken to minimise the negative effects of operations and maximise the positive effects. If the company does not assess the environmental impact before drafting the policy then they cannot set objectives to achieve in the policy.

State the objectives

An environmental policy helps a company achieve its environmental objectives. Accordingly, the environmental policy should clearly state what the company’s environmental objectives are. Additionally, while drafting the policy the company must make sure that the environmental objectives do not conflict with the operations of the business as the policy would otherwise be impractical. Environmental objectives must be realistic and achievable. If the objectives in the policy are unrealistic or unachievable then the company will be negatively criticised for

Keep it clear, short and simple

The policy should use clear and simple language as otherwise the objectives will be difficult to identify and achieve. Additionally, if the language is not clear and simple there is a significant risk of misinterpretation which can result in negative criticism and feedback. The policy should also be short and concise so that the policy is easily accessible and the objectives are easily identified.

In conclusion having an environmental policy has many benefits such as helping the company achieve its environmental objective and achieve Certified Environmental Management standards. A good policy will state the environmental objectives without clashing with the company’s operations. It will also be clear, short and simple.

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The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice you should rely on.

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