ISO 14001: How to come up with an Environmental Policy

ISO 14001: How to come up with an Environmental Policy

ISO 14001: How to come up with an Environmental Policy

An environmental policy is one of the requirements of ISO 14001. The organization’s management needs to decide what this policy will be about, what it’s going to include, and how to make it adequate. Here guidelines to help achieve this:

Environmental policy: Its definition

An environmental policy is a commitment that an organization makes when controlling and improving its relationship with the environment. For the statement to have an impact, it needs to come from top management. This way, it can rope in all members of the organization to perform their duties in a way that is mindful of the environment.

Contents of an environmental policy

There are specific elements detailed in ISO14001 that will need to be addressed by your environmental policy. They include:

  • How appropriate is the policy– Different organizations in different sectors require unique approaches. To write an impactful policy, organizations have to consider their effects on the environment, i.e., a chemical making plant will need a policy that stipulates how it will handle the waste. Having this in mind will affect all the necessary steps when implementing the company’s Environmental Management System.
  • Pollution prevention-An environmental policy should demonstrate an organization’s commitment to pollution prevention. The steps taken to prevent pollution aren’t necessary for the policy statement, but there should be knowledge and agreement in the organization on how to go about it.
  • Continual improvement– The number one reason an organization would choose to implement any management system is to improve the organization continuously. The environmental policy is expected to demonstrate a willingness for continual improvement on how its processes affect the environment. Again you don’t need to show how you will do this in the policy, just that you are committed to it.
  • Legal compliance and other requirements– The policy will need to comply with all legal and other requirements related to the environment. How does your organization relate to its surroundings? Are your activities within the allowed threshold of noise? What does the law say about wastewater emission?
  • Framework for targets and objectives- Here, your organization needs to detail plans related to improving their impact on the environment. These plans should be in sync with environmental policy. If your approach reduces the effects of carbon dioxide emissions, then your targets and objectives should relate to this. Resist the urge to put anything that won’t be acted upon by your improvement plans.


  1. Document it- the environmental policy is a written document, not word of mouth. It has to be so. It can either be in hard or soft copy. It has to be implemented and maintained, meaning that there has to be a budget assigned to it to make the commitments in the policy materialize.
  2. Employees must know about the policy– It needs to be communicated to all and sundry. The people in your organization should know what is in the policy and the part that they play in it.
  3. Available to the public– The environmental policy should be available to anyone who requests it. It can be posted on the website or circulated with pamphlets.

Let’s wrap this up

An excellent environmental policy should be tailor-made for every organization because they all have different needs. Compliance works better that way.

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