Eco-Policy Guidelines

Tips on Writing an Effective Eco-Policy

An effective Eco-Policy should address as wide a spectrum of topics as possible.   The level of attention you choose to devote to documenting any measures taken could become the single most competitive factor in your long term success.  The following topics are suggestions only to help you shape your policy.  The breadth, scope, content and accuracy of your page(s) is left to your sole discretion.  The greener and more eco-friendly measures your company can reliably document, the more overall success you can expect to enjoy.  
 
Introductory Statement:  Describe your company, the industry in which you are classified along with any optimistic environmental prospects for the future. 

Industry Statement:  Describe the progress your overall industry is making on reducing it’s impact on the environment.  

Polices and Practices:  Describe any eco-friendly policies and practices you currently have mandated for your operations to follow.

Environmental Factors:  Touch on each of the following topics and describe the steps being taken to reduce, eliminate or embrace each of the applicable factors listed.

Fossil Fuel Dependency:  How dependent is your product/service on the use of fossil fuels? What steps are you taking to pursue more eco-friendly fuels?

Green Energy:  Are you switching over to natural gas or electric powered vehicles?  Are you taking advantage of solar panels for heating and cooling?  What steps are you taking to explore the use of biofuels?
 
Energy Efficiency:  If you use fossil fuels, what steps are you taking to insure maximum efficiency.  Items such as regular tune ups, tire pressure, etc., can all impact your mileage.

Certified Organic:  If you grow crops, are you seeking organic certification?
 
Pesticide Free:  What steps are you taking to reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides?  What steps do you typically take to prevent contaminated run-off?  What percentage of pesticides is absorbed by the food you grow and consumed up the food chain?

GMO Free:  Are your products genetically modified?  If so, what steps if any are you taking to reduce or eliminate their use?

Toxic Chemicals:  Do your operations generate toxic chemicals as a byproduct?  How are these byproducts neutralized or disposed of?  What steps are you taking toward eliminating any toxic waste. 

Heavy Metals:  Do your operations generate heavy metals as a byproduct?  How are these byproducts neutralized, recycled or disposed of? 

Nuclear Wastes:  Do your operations generate nuclear or atomic wastes as a byproduct?  How are these byproducts neutralized or disposed of? 

Packaging Friendly:  Are your packaging materials made from recycled products?  Do you use any Styrofoam in your packaging and what steps if any are you taking to eliminate it?  Do you package your products in square or round containers?  Square containers are cheaper and more fuel efficient to ship.    
 
Rain Forest Friendly:  Do you use packaging made in foreign countries?  Do you source raw materials from countries with rain forests?  What steps are you taking to reduce or eliminate any impact your purchases are having on rain forests?    

Recycle Friendly:  What mandates do you currently have in place for your administrative staff? What percentage of your product is fully recyclable at the end of it’s lifecycle? What steps can you take to increase it’s overall recyclability? What priorities are your operations given to reduce waste, save energy, etc.

Ocean Friendly:  What portion of your products or services have a chance of ending up in floating in the middle of the ocean? What if any steps are being taken to mitigate any damage caused as a result of your company operations. 

River & Stream Friendly:  Do your operations use and return water to the environment in better condition than when you received it?   What steps can you take to reduce or eliminate any impact your products might have on streams, rivers and oceans?

Air Quality:  How do your operations affect air quality in and around your production facilities? What steps are you taking to insure you return clean air back into the atmosphere we all depend upon? 

Local Sourcing:  Energy is required to transport supplies across long distances.  What steps are you taking to insure your supplies are sourced locally wherever possible? 

Supplier Integrity:  List the steps you typically take to vet the eco-practices of your suppliers. Just like your consumers, you have a choice when it comes to rewarding good environmental behavior.  Hiding behind or simply taking a supplier’s word for their degree of concern is certain to come back to bite you. 

Divisions/Subsidiaries:  Insure that any intercompany divisions and subsidiaries conform to the same level of attention as your entity.  Provide links to any eco-policies they have in place to your main policy statement.

Sustainability:  How sustainable are the materials you use to construct your products?  List any research completed in pursuit of more sustainable components. 

Transparency:  Trying to hide behind attorneys, subsidiaries and other divisions is not conducive to your long term success.  You should be ready and willing to openly answer any and all questions regarding any questionable behavior.  

Accountability:  Eco-certification exists on many levels within nearly all industries.  If you're not already seeking eco-certification, it's never too late to begin.  Check with your local industry leaders for relevant information.  Any investment you make in pursing certification will be returned several times over.  Be sure to post your certifications on line for all to see.  

Employee Involvement:  As the next generation enters the job market, the best and brightest are not going to want to work for polluting industries or companies. They're going to want to know all about the steps you are taking and mandates you have in place.  Lack of any policy will make it difficult for you to hire and keep good people. 

Social Media:  Embracing Social Media allows you to access a much larger slice of the available market for what amounts to pennies compared to the dollars you might spend on traditional marketing.  The sooner you begin maximizing all the facets that social media has to offer, the sooner you'll begin reaping the benefits.

Earth Mom Icon:  Having a solid eco-policy in place is a great first step to insuring your company won't be left by the wayside.  However you want to insure your patrons can easily locate your policy.  The Earth Mom Icon is available free to add to your other icons to help buyers find your policy. 

Recommendations:  Currently there are no set standards for creating an eco-policy.  Your best course is to improve upon the policies posted by of some of the larger competitors in your industries or by similarly related Fortune 500 companies.  The sooner you get started, the sooner the benefits of becoming increasingly more eco-friendly will become apparent. 

A Word of Caution: Green Washing is a term assigned to companies who claim to be taking measurable steps to reducing their footprint.  With your employee and competitors keeping watch, knowingly making false statements can quickly have dire consequences.  Simply talking the talk is insufficient to maintaining good environmental relations. Establishing a Green Executive Officer (GRO) to oversee your efforts can create an extra level of credibility

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