Is there a difference between an environmental policy and a sustainable policy?
Are you looking to prepare your company's environment policy or you suddenly realised if you also need an environmental policy? Or perhaps you already have both and you are confused by the repetitive focus of both policy? Let’s explore the difference between an environmental policy and a sustainable policy:
- An environmental policy primarily focuses on protecting and preserving the natural environment. It outlines an organization’s commitment to minimizing its impact on the planet.
- Key features of an environmental policy include:
- Resource Conservation: Reducing energy and water consumption, minimising waste generated and promoting recycling habits.
- Compliance with Regulations: Ensuring adherence to relevant environmental laws and regulations.
- Responsibility: Encouraging employees and other stakeholders at all levels to be environmentally conscious.
- Local Initiatives: Supporting and participating in local environmental projects.
- Continually improve environmental performance (in terms of rate of meeting set environmental targets).
- Manage all its environmental impact.
- Manage expectations regarding suppliers and other value chain links.
- Comply with relevant environmental legislations.
- Educate employees regarding the environmental effects of their activities.
- Continue monitoring and review of its environmental performance on a regular basis.
- Report and publish their internal achievements.
A sustainable policy goes beyond environmental concerns and considers long-term well-being of people, animals, physical, environment and ecomnomy affected directly or indirectly by their operations. It aims to balance economic, social, and environmental aspects.
Key features of a sustainable policy include:
- Holistic Approach: Addressing economic, social, and environmental dimensions simultaneously.
- Investment in the Future: Encouraging choices that benefit future generations.
- Incentives: Using taxes, subsidies, or other incentives to promote sustainable practices.
In summary, an environmental policy focuses on specific aspects of the environment relevant to the business while a sustainability policy affects broader issues that are interconnected to the organisation environmentally, socially and economically. For most organisations, especially SMEs or local communities, an environmental policy can be effectively incorporated into the single Sustainability policy.