The law says your company must protect the environment! Follow this guide to draw up an Environmental Policy

Ashley Churchyard, Fsp Business, 03 Feb. 2015

Tags: environmental laws, environmental policy, environmental planning

There are a number of environmental laws you need to comply with as a business. These include the National Environmental Management Act and National Environmental Management Waste Act.

To comply with these laws, your company needs an environmental policy. This enforces your rules so everyone protects the environment.

To help you write the best policy possible, here’s my simple guide …

Use this guide to draw up a legally compliant Environmental Policy

The law doesn’t specify a standard for Environmental Policies. But most companies have the same topics in their policies, so most industries see them as standard.
But you must also make sure your policy is specific to your company. It needs to reflect your values and goals when it comes to environmental safety.
To start drawing up your policy, you need to determine what impact your company has on the environment. To do that, you must do an environmental risk assessment and base your policy on the results of your assessment.
Your policy should also include information about:
·         Your business mission and your operations. If these change at any point, you must update your policy to include the changes.
·         Your commitment to environmental protection.
·         Your commitment to managing your company’s impact on the environment.
·         How you’ll comply with environmental legislation and reduce your environmental impact.
·         How you’ll train your employees on environmental safety and their duties.
·         How you’ll review and monitor your environmental impacts.
·         How you’re going to tell your employees, customers, investors and stakeholders about your environmental goals.
If you have any clients, investors and shareholders with environmental needs, make sure you include them in your policy. This way, you can keep your goals and values in line with theirs.
Once you’ve written up all this information, you need to look at how you’ll deal with each environmental impact.
Here are nine impacts you might need to cover.
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Your 1 527 health and safety duties as an employer
When was the last time you checked what disinfecting agents and cleaning materials your company uses?
Do you comply with the Hazardous Chemical Regulations?
There are over 1 500 items you must evaluate in your workplace according to the OHS Act and hundreds more from SABS 0400: National Building regulations.
Health and safety laws apply to EVERY company, if you have more than 20 employees you have even greater obligations.

If your business has any of these environmental impacts, include them in your policy

  1. Transport;
  2. Recycling of packaging materials;
  3. Minimising waste;
  4. Efficient use of water and energy;
  5. Use of biodegradable chemicals;
  6. Minimising use of solvents and lead-based paints;
  7. Use of timber or wood products from sustainable forests;
  8. Procedures to minimise noise disturbance to neighbours; and
  9. Procedures and rules around ozone-depleting substances.
All your senior managers need to commit to your policy and deal with these impacts. To make sure they do, get them to sign it.
Lastly, include your Environmental Policy into your health and safety programme. It needs to be an integral part of your company’s health and safety plan. And remember, to make sure you get your Environmental Policy right from the beginning, you have to do your environmental impact assessment carefully. To find out how to do this, check out the Health and Safety Advisor

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