Setting an Environmental Policy

Commitment comes from the top and is reflected in a preparedness to invest resources in environmental programmes. The degree of commitment will be stated in the Environmental Policy. This is set after a careful consideration of the ethical, legal and business implications of such an investment.

The Environmental Policy is a serious document that will be enacted through the setting of specific targets corresponding to Policy Objectives. These targets will be met through the provision of resources to the implementation of environmental programmes. The reputation of the Company is dependent on fulfilling Policy Objectives so each statement must be carefully considered and be achievable with available resources.

An Environmental Policy generally commences with a statement recognizing the importance of good environmental performance to the success of the company and committing the Company to a certain level of performance. Statements such as ‘We will be a leader in environmental management’ or that ‘we will achieve industry best practice performance in environmental management’ should be thought about carefully before they are included.

They imply a preparedness to invest more resources in this aspect than competitors will, coupled with a preparedness to benchmark with high confidence that absolute performance will be best in class. If this is so then it is a wonderful inclusion but if not the Policy will lack credibility. Statements such as we will continually improve our performance through the implementation of sound management systems, empower our people to manage and mitigate their environmental impacts, undertake research and consultation to understand impacts and community expectations are much safer. Specific commitments to complying fully with all legal requirements, preventing pollution and minimizing waste will always need to be included.

Once the Policy is set (Example) it must be effectively communicated to all stakeholders.