Writing@CSU Guide

Environmental Policy Statements

A policy statement is an essential tool to the environmental health practice. It sets the stage for expectations and performance of persons, individuals or groups, and it precedes the development of specific procedures or practices that should be followed to realize the expectations of the policy.

The goal of a policy statement is to implement a new policy. The success of a policy's implementation depends on the ability of the author(s) of the policy statement to convey the meaning of the policy and modes of implementation effectively. The more explicit and clear you can be when writing a policy statement the more likely that it will succeed.

An Annotated Example of a Policy Statement

Annotations to the left point out the Key Elements of an Environmental Policy Statement as described in this guide.

  The Morgan Library Internet Search Printing Policy

The Policy.
The policy of Morgan Library shall be to limit or eliminate the printing of Internet or similar information searches conducted by patrons in the information technology area or by library faculty in the reference areas. Results of such searches may be saved on magnetic media or saved temporarily as files on the search computer and emailed to the client. During the 98-99 academic year, a survey of the two aforementioned areas estimated 1240 reams of paper, purchased through the Library budget, were wasted. Such waste occurred when patrons or staff printed early results of overly broad searches or printed the entire search sequence while the patron learned the system mechanics. Morgan Library governing board hereby adopts this policy in an effort to conserve valuable resources, improve efficiency of information transfer to clients and to contain discretionary costs within the Library budget.

This policy shall be initially implemented in the information technology area and shall apply to all clients who use Library resources to conduct information searches. This policy shall equally apply to the reference information services where professional library staff conduct searches at the request of researchers or other patrons who pay for searches through direct reimbursement or cost transfer from funded projects.

Morgan Library must remain a primary resource to all of our clients and implementation of this policy should not discourage interaction of clients with professional staff nor should it dissuade users and patrons from exploiting the resources of Morgan Library. To this end, reference staff shall use individual discretion when performing research and shall print results when, in the opinion of the staff member, delivery of the result in this fashion best serves the client needs. Further, the information technology area shall install dispensers for clients to purchase 3.5 inch magnetic media to save searches. Clients may print LIMITED scope searches of one page or less on the existing information technology print stations. Software will be installed to limit any discrete, incoming print command to the first 72 lines of text (formatted to one page, single spaced). The print server will ignore multiple print commands from the same search stations during the same search. Computer Services may be tasked with this formatting and computer modification to realize limited scope printing. For clients who choose to save searches temporarily on the search computer and email to another location, instructions for so doing shall be clearly posted at all search computers in the technology area. Finally, training sessions on "smart" searching, saving results to magnetic media, and emailing search results to an out-of-library account may be implemented as part of the Back-to-School Training and Orientation Week at the outset of each semester.

This policy shall be implemented by the supervisory librarians in Information Technology and References Services and those librarians shall see that all staff are trained to implement this policy no later than the beginning of SP00 semester. Further, these same supervisory librarians shall meet as a team to design and implement an evaluation strategy to assess the following points:
  1. Library resources (primarily paper) are being conserved;
  2. Discretionary spending from the Library budget for this activity is reduced in the 99-00 academic year
  3. Library patrons are not dissuaded from using the resources and services of Morgan Library in the technology and reference areas through adoption of this policy
The supervisory librarians shall inform the Director of Libraries of the outcome of the assessment at the end of SM00 semester, and this policy shall be reviewed by the governing board of Morgan Library for modification, elimination, or reaffirmation.
Justification for the policy.

Those to whom the policy applies.

How the policy is to be implemented.

Who is responsible for implementing the policy.

How the policy will be evaluated.

Guiding principles.

Key Elements of an Environmental Policy Statement

A policy statement is generally a brief document, but it can be far reaching in its ramifications. This guide will inform you of the key elements required to make policy statements effective.

A policy statement should include the following:

  • A call to action (the policy)
  • A justification for the policy
  • Those to whom the policy should apply
  • Those responsible for implementing the policy
  • How the policy should be implemented and evaluated
  • Include guiding principles if necessary

A call to action:the policy

Clearly state the policy and the actions that need to be taken as a result of the policy. Include all the details necessary for sucessful implementation of the policy. Be as explicit as you can: are you trying to avoid oil spills or are your trying to avoid open ocean oil spills from tanker bilge pumps?


1. ABACUS INTERNATIONAL will manage chemicals in a responsible manner that minimizes potential environmental and health impacts and fully considers the following: legal requirements and governmental policies, customer expectations and concerns, short and long-term benefits, costs and liabilities, and viable material and process alternatives.

2. Catamount Industries personnel will manage mechanical lifting equipment in manners to minimize liability for such equipment use and to reduce, as far as is practicable, reportable injuries caused by use of such equipment. The injury goal shall be less than 1 per 100,000 person-hours and the liability goal shall be $0 per year.

A justification for the policy

If people have a firm understanding of why a policy is important they are more likely to implement it. Justify the policy based on research, project goals, or new regulations.


1. This policy is enacted by the EPA as part of the mandate to inform the public of the facts surrounding pesticides and food as laid forth in the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996. Mounting public pressure has led the EPA to adopt policies that exceed the guidelines proposed in the mandate.

2. We are enacting this policy based on research which has shown that over 1000 deaths occur each year in the United States as a result of exposure to second hand tobacco smoke. Several thousand cases of respiratory diseases are diagnosed as a result of exposure to second hand tobacco smoke.

Those to whom the policy should apply

Make it explicit as to who the policy applies to, therefore no one should be unaware that this policy affects them and the work they do. This statement may be crucial if liability has to be determined when something goes wrong.


1. This Policy applies to all worldwide ABACUS INTERNATIONAL businesses, operations and facilities. All references to chemicals in this policy include process chemicals, product component parts, fuels, hazardous materials or hazardous wastes. This policy does not apply to systems owned and operated by the lessor on property where ABACUS INTERNATIONAL is the lessee.

2. This policy shall apply to all Catamount Industries personnel, contractors, part time workers and assistants who shall be paid by or under the control of Catamount Industries during regularly scheduled work. This policy shall apply to all mechanical lifting equipment owned, leased or used by Catamount Industries personnel, contractors, part time workers and assistants paid by or under the control of Catamount Industries.

Those responsible for implementing the policy

Make it explicit as to who is responsible for implementing the policy. Those who are responsible won't know until you tell them and if you want the policy to be implemented, you'd better let them know up front.


1. All developmental and design engineers, all production managers and process supervisors, and all line lead workers of ABACUS INTERNATIONAL shall be familiar with the procedures mandated under this policy and shall assure the implementation of them. All ABACUS INTERNATIONAL workers shall be made aware of this policy by their direct supervisors and shall be individually responsible for following the procedures set forth under this policy that may relate to the job being performed by that worker.

2. Job superintendents and crew leaders of Catamount Industries shall be familiar with this policy and assure implementation of work safe procedures developed under this policy. All workers of Catamount Industries will be responsible, after training by the crew leader or job superintendent, to implement the appropriate job safe procedure related to the task at hand mandated by this policy.

How the policy should be implemented and evaluated

Sometimes you may let those who are responsible for implementing the policy choose how they wish to implement the policy. If this is not the case make it very clear as to how the policy should be implemented.

In both cases you want to explain how the implementation process should be evaluated, including who is responsible for the evaluation.


1. The policy will be implemented by a three part campaign including, print material for distribution at local grocery stores, a national television public service announcement which will run for the next twelve months, and a Web site which will continue to be updated for the next three years at such time it will become necessary to reassess the project and appropriate new funding.

2. Developmental and design engineers of ABACUS INTERNATIONAL shall design evaluation procedures for all processes that fall under this policy to ensure that these processes comply. Lead workers shall gather information and execute the evaluation procedures to evaluate the policy. Deficiencies, in the policy or in the evaluation procedure, shall be addressed jointly by developmental and design engineers in cooperation with lead workers.

3. Job superintendents shall gather data on each Catamount Industries site at the completion of a job to determine if the goals of this policy have been met. These determinations shall be made part of the annual-job-safe-performance log by the respective job superintendent.

Include guiding principles if necessary

In a complex policy statement, guiding principles may be explained to allow better development of procedures or practices to comply with that policy.


1. Manufacturing Process Design - Assure all manufacturing process designs consider chemical and process alternatives, and engineering controls that: (i) Minimize or eliminate employee health risks from chemical exposure; (ii) Minimize chemical consumption and chemical waste generation.

2. Equipment Acquisition - Assure all lifting equipment when it comes into control of Catamount Industries will meet minimum requirements as set for by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration under applicable regulations.

Citation: Please adapt for your documentation style.

Bhlem, Kenneth, & Neal Bastek. (1999). Environmental Policy Statements. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University. https://writing.colostate.edu/guides/guide.cfm?guideid=82