ISO 14001 Guidance - 2. Environmental policy

The environmental policy is the driver for implementing and improving an organization's environmental management system so that it can maintain and potentially improve its environmental performance. This policy should therefore reflect the commitment of top management to comply with applicable legal requirements and other requirements, to prevent pollution and to continually improve. The environmental policy forms the basis upon which the organization sets its objectives and targets. The environmental policy should be sufficiently clear to be able to be understood by internal and external interested parties, and should be periodically reviewed and revised to reflect changing conditions and information. Its area of application (i.e. scope) should be clearly identifiable and should reflect the unique nature, scale and environmental impacts of the activities, products and services within the defined scope of the environmental management system.

The environmental policy should be communicated to all persons who work for, or on behalf of, the organization, including contractors working at an organization's facility. Communication to contractors can be in alternative forms to the policy statement itself, such as rules, directives and procedures, and may therefore only include pertinent sections of the policy. The organization's environmental policy should be defined and documented by its top management within the context of the environmental policy of any broader corporate body of which it is a part, and with the endorsement of that body.

NOTE Top management usually consists of a person or group of people who direct and control an organization at the highest level.