An environmental policy statement is usually a brief document signed by the highest level of authority in an organization. It sets expectations for the organization and its employees with respect to environmental management. An effective environmental policy statement is truthful, not over reaching, and typically contains the following three commitments:
Environmental policy statements should be communicated to employees and available to the public. You may want to post it around your facility, incorporate it into training classes and materials, include it on your intranet and internet sites, or even print it on the back of employee badges.
See sample environmental policy statement.
Environmental or green teams usually involve staff from various parts of the organization. They should meet on a regular basis to identify and monitor environmental activities at your facility. Environmental teams can also sponsor environmental educational opportunities for employees, solicit ideas and suggestions from employees, and organize fun, internal competitions, or events like a Bike to Work week. See Top Five Green Team Tips and more information on building a green team.
Try brainstorming a list of the overall environmental impacts of your facility, products, and services and then prioritize the impacts based on their significance, severity, frequency, or other parameters.
Select one or more projects to reduce these priority impacts and establish goals, timelines, measures, and responsible staff.
Reduce the environmental impact of your organization through the products you buy, and the vendors, consultants, contractors and property managers you work with.
Reduce both your organization’s and your customer’s environmental impact through your goods and services. Consider changes to the design, composition, packaging and transportation of your product to reduce life-cycle costs.
Look for opportunities to restore or enhance your own property or help with community efforts.
Share your environmental successes and tips with business partners, trade association members, customers, vendors and the neighboring community.
Become involved in environmental protection and public policy
EMSs help organizations identify and manage both their regulated and unregulated environmental impacts. There are a number of EMS standards which offer certification through independent auditors. The most well known is ISO 14001. Others include trade association programs such as Responsible Care for the chemical industry, Responsible Recycling (R2) for electronics recyclers and the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership, All of these require implementation of an EMS as part of their certification requirements.
For information on the Maryland Department of the Environment/University of Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute's free ISO 14001 EMS Implementation Assistance Program, click here.
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