- Adopt an Environmental Policy Statement
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:
- a commitment to compliance with all environmental laws and regulations
- a commitment to pollution prevention – This means that your organization places a priority on waste reduction over recycling, treatment or disposal of waste.
- a commitment to continual improvement – This means that your organization or environmental team meets regularly to evaluate your environmental impacts and set annual goals.
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.
- Create an Environmental or Green Team
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.
- Evaluate the overall environmental impacts of your organization and set annual goals to reduce these impacts
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.
- Create a worksheet to review and rank your organization's environmental impacts on an annual basis. See sample environmental impacts worksheet.
- Create a worksheet to track and assign staff responsibilities for the goals you set. See sample environmental objectives and targets worksheet.
- Assess your organization’s impact with some of these calculators:
- Review the Maryland Green Registry checklist and research other best practices for your industry sector for project ideas.
- The Maryland Department of the Environment and University of Maryland Manufacturing Assistance Program offer free on-site pollution prevention opportunity assessments
- Toolkits for improving environmental performance are available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- Fact sheets and case studies for pollution prevention for selected industry sectors.
- Establish baseline measures before implementing changes and then share results with employees and customers. To convert results, such as kilowatt hours saved or pounds of waste reduced, to environmental impact measures, use these environmental impact calculators. These web-based calculators are also useful for obtaining measurable results for your Maryland Green Registry application.
- Develop an Environmental Preferable Purchasing Plan
Reduce the environmental impact of your organization through the products you buy, and the vendors, consultants, contractors and property managers you work with.
Provide Environmentally Preferable Products and Services
- Environmental Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Tools
- Consider Green Seal, UL Environment, GoodGuide or other certified products and services with high recycled content, low toxicity and other environmental attributes.
- Purchase previously used equipment or furniture from office surplus stores, classifieds, or online sources.
- Buy local.
- When printing, discuss these paper and ink choices with your printer, or work with a certified Sustainable Green Printers.
- When repairing your fleet vehicles, look for a green garage.
- When traveling for business or planning a conference at a hotel,use a certified Green Hotel. When in Maryland, use Maryland Green Travel lodging, restaurants and attractions. When working with any hotel, follow these 5 steps and/or ask for responses to these questions. You may also want to ask conference participants to sign a Green Meeting Pledge.
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.
Become Involved in Environmental Restoration or Community Environmental Projects
- Reduce packaging
- Increase durability of product and components
- Incorporate recyclable, reusable, or returnable components in your product or service
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
Implement an Environmental Management System (EMS)
- Contact your elected officials to help improve environmental laws and regulations at all levels of government and report environmental violations you observe to government agencies (To report spills and environmental emergencies, contact MDE)
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.
The Maryland Green Registry Is...
There is no cost to join. Simply create a member profile sharing your environmental best practices.
You choose the activities that make the most sense for your organization.
The Maryland Green Registry is open to organizations and facilities of all types and sizes in both owned and leased space.
Learn here what other Maryland Green Registry members are doing to reduce their environmental impacts and receive staff support on checklist measures.