How to write an environmental policy

How to integrate an environmental policy into your business


Developing an effective environmental policy is the first step towards integrating environmental management into your business. You should be able to make your environmental policy work for your business, while also giving cost savings and other benefits.

How to successfully integrate an environmental policy

You can integrate an environmental policy into your business by:

  • including progress and developments in environmental management in your management meetings
  • considering environment-related investments - such as capital expenditure or training - in business planning
  • integrating environmental performance into key performance indicators as well as traditional indicators such as turnover, profit margin, etc
  • featuring your environmental policy and progress with objectives and targets in your marketing materials and other customer communications
  • including environmental responsibilities in employees' job descriptions and recognising people's responsibilities in their professional development
  • working with your suppliers to reduce the costs and environmental impacts of both organisations

Enhancing supplier and customer relationships

You should also consider assessing whether your suppliers are taking action to reduce their impact on the environment - for example, can they alter the way they package goods for delivery to you? Using different materials or packaging methods could reduce the supplier's packaging and transportation costs while reducing the amount of waste you have to deal with.

Ask suppliers for details of their environmental policy or environmental management system (EMS). Some businesses now insist on suppliers having a certified EMS in place.

Implementing your environmental policy

The most cost-effective way of implementing your environmental policy is to use a systematic approach, rather than a series of one-off measures. The most thorough method is to use a formal environmental standard such as ISO 14001 and the European Union Eco-Management and Auditing Scheme (EMAS). These both require an environmental policy to be in place. EMAS also requires environmental reports to be made available - see environmental management systems (EMS) - the basics.

If you don't have the time or resources to set up a formal EMS, you could produce an action plan that details how your environmental policy will be put into practice. Your action plan could contain information on what actions will be carried out to help your business meet its environmental objectives and targets, when this will be done and what the responsibilities are of those involved.

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