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Businesses of every size are becoming more aware of their corporate social responsibility. Put simply, this is the idea of giving back to the wider community and the natural world. A big part of being socially responsible is acknowledging your company's impact on the environment. You can put this into words using an environmental policy.
What's in this guide?
- What is an Environmental Policy?
- When should I use an Environmental Policy?
- What does an Environmental Policy include and not include?
- How effective is an Environmental Policy?
- Do I need a lawyer for an Environmental Policy?
- Get access to online lawyers and environmental policy templates
- How do I write an Environmental Policy?
- Where to get free legal documents and templates like an Environmental Policy
What is an Environmental Policy?
The overlying purpose of an environmental policy is to highlight your company's compliance with state laws and regulations concerning the environment. The document sets out the policies and procedures that your company has in place to reduce the impact it has on the natural world. An environmental policy can cover anything from waste management practices and recycling to supporting the efforts of environmental charities.
When should I use an Environmental Policy?
Having an environmental policy is not required by law, but more and more businesses are choosing to put one in place for a number of reasons. An environmental policy:
- Publicly demonstrates a commitment to your corporation's social responsibility
- Improves corporate image with stakeholders and customers
- Ensures that you're acting within the law
- Informs employees about their responsibilities when it comes to the environment
What does an Environmental Policy include and not include?
What is included in an environmental policy?
Choosing what to include in an environmental policy differs across industries and businesses. Generally speaking, your policy should address the following:
- Open with a mission statement that talks about your business' operations and commitment to continually improving environmental efforts.
- Address the expectations you have from third parties, such as suppliers and contractors.
- Acknowledge the relevant environmental legislation that your business will comply with.
- Highlight how you will educate and train staff on environmental issues.
- Explain how your business will continue to monitor and review environmental performance.
It's also worth including a detailed section on how you intend to deal with the environmental issues that your company faces. This can include a section on:
- Waste management
- Transport and CO2 emissions
- Efficient energy use
- Sustainable sourcing
- Chemical usage
What is not included in an environmental policy?
There are a few no-nos when it comes to putting together your environmental policy:
- Don't make unrealistic promises or set unachievable goals
- Don't use vague language. Instead, be specific about your future goals
- Don't use non-committal language such as 'where possible'
How effective is an Environmental Policy?
An environmental policy is only as effective as you make it. To ensure your environmental policy is credible to the public, customers and stakeholders, you may want to establish an environmental management system alongside it. This will allow you to implement, manage and review your environmental policies regularly.
Do I need a lawyer for an Environmental Policy?
No, you don't have to hire a lawyer to help you write your environmental policy. However, onboarding the help of an environmental lawyer can be extremely beneficial. It'll help to speed up the whole process and make sure that you haven't missed out any crucial clauses in the policy.
Get access to online lawyers and environmental policy templates
How do I write an Environmental Policy?
There's no right and wrong when it comes to putting together an environmental policy. As this is a policy that needs to be upheld by all corners of the business, as well as reflect the businesses' culture, all senior staff should be involved in writing it. Once you've agreed on what to include in your policy, you can use an environmental policy template to draft it up.
Remember, your policy should be made accessible to all staff and customers. To do this, use simple, understandable language throughout, and make a copy of the policy available on your website.
Where to get free legal documents and templates like an Environmental Policy
While we don't all have access to legal help, we all do have access to a series of online templates that can be downloaded for free or for a one-time payment. Here are a few places we'd recommend starting your search.
- Lawpath. Lawpath is an online legal resource for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Users can browse free samples on their website but must sign-up to access customisation options.
- Law Depot. Law Depot provides a broad array of free online documents to choose from. Fill them in online, before downloading the documents straight to your computer.
- LegalVision. LegalVision offers users unlimited use of free legal document templates for a monthly membership fee or one-time download fee.
- Wonder Legal. Browse more than 140 legal document templates with Wonder Legal, and then download your chosen template for a one-time fee.
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