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Management and Leadership

Management and Leadership

For additional tips on leading a sustainable business, read the DEP's Leadership Sustainability Guide here.


1. Adopt an Environmental Policy Statement 

An environmental policy statement is usually a brief document signed by the highest level of authority in an organization.  It sets expectations for the organization and its employees with respect to environmental management.  An effective environmental policy statement is truthful, not over reaching, and typically contains the following three commitments:


  •  a commitment to compliance with all environmental laws and regulations
  •  a commitment to pollution prevention – This means that your organization places a priority on waste reduction over recycling, treatment or disposal of waste.
  •  a commitment to continual improvement – This means that your organization or environmental team meets regularly to evaluate your environmental impacts and set annual goals. 

Environmental policy statements should be communicated to employees and available to the public.  It should be posted around your facility, incorporated into training classes and materials and included on your intranet and internet sites, or even printed on the back of employee badges.

See Developing an Environmental Policy Statement

Action: Do you have a comprehensive written environmental policy, signed by the current owner or senior manager of the company?  Please describe and submit your Environmental Policy.

2. Identify a Sustainability Leader / Create a Sustainability Team

Sustainability teams usually involve staff from various parts of the organization. They should meet on a regular basis to identify and monitor environmental activities at your facility. Environmental teams can also sponsor environmental educational opportunities for employees, solicit ideas and suggestions from employees, and organize fun, internal competitions, or events like a Bike to Work week.  See Top Five Green Team Tips and more information on building a green team.

Due to capacity issues it may be necessary to have a small number of people involved on a green team.  In very small businesses this may involve just one person.  Even in these cases the business will benefit from one or three people providing input on how a business may begin to become sustainable.  The following article entitled How Small Green Team Can Transform Large Corporations may give you some ideas.

Action:  Identify the individual leading this effort or describe your team (membership, mission, how often it meets, etc.) and how it works to identify and implement measures that improve the environmental performance of your facility and operations.


3. Annual Environmental Goals

Try brainstorming a list of the overall environmental impacts of your facility, products, and services and then prioritize the impacts based on their significance, severity, frequency, or other parameters.

Select one or more projects to reduce these priority impacts and establish goals, timelines, measures, and responsible staff.


Action:  Provide an example of specific goals your organization has set to reduce its environmental impact.


4. Develop an Environmental Preferable Purchasing Plan

Reduce the environmental impact of your organization through the products you buy, and the vendors, consultants, contractors and property managers you work with.

Action:  Describe your procurement policy or approach and provide example(s) of environmentally preferable product purchasing decisions or vendor contract language.


5. Provide Environmentally Preferable Products and Services

Reduce both your organization’s and your customer’s environmental impact through your goods and services. Consider changes to the design, composition, packaging and transportation of your product to reduce life-cycle costs.

  • Reduce packaging
  • Increase durability of product and components
  • Incorporate recyclable, reusable, or returnable components in your product or service

 New Jersey Green Purchasing
 EPA's Safer Choice
 Life Cycle Analysis and Environmental Design
 Green Chemistry
 Cradle to Cradle Certification

Action: Briefly describe the design, composition, packaging and other attributes of the product you produce and/or the service you provide that are designed to reduce environmental impacts and appeal to environmentally-conscious buyers.


6. Implement an Environmental Management System (EMS)

EMSs help organizations identify and manage both their regulated and unregulated environmental impacts. There are a number of EMS standards which offer certification through independent auditors.  The most well known is ISO 14001.  Others include trade association programs such as Responsible Care for the chemical industry, and the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership. All of these require implementation of an EMS as part of their certification requirements.

Action: Identify the Environmental Management System (EMS) used and respective results.


7.  Aspirational Goals (AKA – Stretch Targets)

Think about and establish aspirational goals and inspire others to do the same.

Why Sustainability Aspiration Leads to Innovation

Examples of aspirational goals may include one of the following:

Action:  Identify and describe the sustainable aspirational goals for your business.