How to write an environmental policy



An environmental policy is a written statement that outlines a business' aims and principles to managing the environmental effects and aspects of its operations. Top management must be involved in producing the policy and must understand the principles and commitments in it. It's not compulsory to have an environmental policy but an increasing number of businesses are choosing to have one.

You will need an environmental policy if you want to implement an environmental management standard, such as ISO 14001 or the European Union Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).

ISO 50001 is based on the same management model of continual improvement. It provides a framework of requirements for organisations to develop a policy for more efficient use of energy.

It's also vital if you currently work or intend to work with large organisations, or if you need to demonstrate to customers and other stakeholders that you are committed to managing your environmental impacts in a responsible way.

This guide sets out the benefits of having an environmental policy. It makes suggestions for selecting the right format and content. It also gives useful tips on how to keep your environmental policy up to date, how to extend its scope to include corporate social responsibility and sustainable development, and how to integrate the policy into your business.

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

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All Northern Ireland businesses with an annual energy and resource spend of more than £30k can get a free assessment of their environmental performance across areas such as raw materials, energy, carbon, packaging, biodiversity and waste - find out more about Invest NI Sustainability Reports.