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ISO 14001:2015 Clause 5.2 Environmental policy
Clause 5.2 Breakdown
5.2 Environmental policy
...top management commitment...
The environmental policy sets the bench-mark for which the organization will measure its environmental performance, as set by itself...
The environmental policy is the driver for implementing, maintaining and improving the organizations EMS system. Whilst the mind-map of clause 14001:2015 5.2 can be seen below, not all of these elements are mandatory. The organizations set-up as defined within clause 4 will provide much of the framework for the environmental policy, with the PDCA process providing the tools to outlined the interdependence between the environmental policy and the EMS system. The environmental policy is a high level document which outlines a series of commitments by top management to support and enhance their environmental performance, providing a compass to the organizations intentions and direction. it should also seek to be harmonious with other policies, such as quality and health and safety. There may also be a need for the policy to be consistent and endorsed by the organizations parent company.
The creation of an environmental policy must not be a paperwork or public relations exercise... It is the EMS systems highest level document and as such will need to stand up to continuous scrutiny and critical appraisal, year in, year out. The policy is not a static document and will be subject to change and update through the passage of time as the organization manages its activities and obligations. The policy needs to be understood by both internal and external parties and should therefore be at a literacy level to be sufficiently clear, concise and not overly technical in nature.
There is no standard format for an environmental policy, and each organization will address its requirements in their own way. Many will develop policies that are very short, around a single page in length. During the draft stages the policy should be reviewed and accepted by all management, especially those with greater responsibility for the environmental aspects of the organization. However, the final sign-off should be reserved for the MD, CEO or board of directors, etc,.
The three core principles to be defined within the environmental policy statement are;
How will the organization:
a.protect the environment
b.fulfil its compliance obligations
c.continually improve its EMS system to enhance environmental performance
It should be noted that clause 14001:2015 5.2 contains three 'shall' statements, which are mandatory requirements.
The environmental policy shall:
1.be maintained as documented information
2.be communicated within the organization
3.be available to interested parties (it is not necessary to publicly display the policy and it is permissible to supply only after identify checks have been undertaken)
Breaking the environmental policy into aims and objectives, the three core principles listed above are aims, and from the mind-map below several objectives could be formed.
Useful integrated management system cross references
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