How to write an environmental policy

How to format your environmental policy


There is no standard format for writing an environmental policy, but to give it the best chance of success, it's important you plan carefully.

Ways to format an environmental policy

There are a few basic rules to follow when writing an environmental policy:

  • keep the statement short - if it's longer than a sheet of A4, then it's probably too long
  • the statement is meant for everyone to see, so make sure it's easy to read and understand
  • the statement must be realistic, achievable and relevant to your business' activities and practices
  • demonstrate commitment to making the policy work and get the statement signed, dated and endorsed by the owner, managing director or other senior manager
  • make the policy available on your website
  • ask new employees and suppliers to read a copy of the policy

It's important to tailor your environmental policy to reflect your business and its culture. A good starting point is to collect and review examples of policies written by other businesses and select the format and style most appropriate to your own business. However, avoid copying someone else's policy.

Management buy-in for an environmental policy

For your policy to be successful you need to get buy-in from management, by emphasising the key benefits such as cost reduction, improved risk management and increased marketing credentials.

Once you have secured this commitment, it's a good idea to assess where your business currently stands in terms of environmental management. This could include drawing up an environmental history of your business, its impact and the risks faced by it. You should also identify what pieces of environmental legislation apply to your business - see how to carry out an environmental review of your business.

You can download an example environmental policy (DOCX, 15K).