Why is it Important to Document Your Environmental Procedures?

The intent of an organization’s documented information is to communicate valuable information, provide evidence of conformities within required products/services and for the exchange or retention of knowledge. Factors such as organizational size, type of activities, process, products, services, complexity, and interaction of processes and competency of persons performing the work should be considered in determining what’s most suitable for an organization.

If you have an Environmental Management System, you will have documented all environmental controls, especially if you have ISO 14001 Certification. Look at the top 3 reasons why ISO 14001:2015 Documentation is important and your company should have them in place.

1. Compliance

Regardless of the systems you have in place, you have an obligation to comply with the law. The documented systems offer you a good reference point to verify that you have covered all the compliance obligations. You can audit your ISO 14001 procedures to make sure you are compliant in theory and then you can audit the implementation of those procedures to make sure your staffs are following them.

2. Everyone knows what they have to do

Documented systems are an excellent way to communicate procedures to staff. They can be used as a reference point to ensure that everyone is aware of their responsibilities. If people are never sure what to do, having procedures that are easily accessible in an easy-to-understand format means they can check the procedures to figure out what to do. This reduces the possibility of doing something wrong and expensive clean up costs.

3. Meet supply chain requirements

During the supplier approval process or when you are winning work, many customers ask how you manage your environmental aspects. If you have documented procedures, you can send or reference those as evidence. Having those procedures in place demonstrates you are aware of your environmental responsibilities and take them seriously. Comprehensive environmental procedures can reduce the risk of environmental incidents and the related reputational risks.

Every company has environmental responsibilities. Documenting how you meet those responsibilities in procedures is proof that you know what they are and how you meet them. Once you have written procedures, it is important that they are communicated to everyone and implemented throughout your organisation. It is also very important for you to make sure that your procedures are working for you and you make any necessary changes. Procedures may need to be changed in case of legislative changes within your organisation or you find an even better way of doing something. Once the procedures have been updated, do not forget to communicate them to the staff so they can be sure to follow them.


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