With the launch of the Green Claims Code, it’s more vital than ever that your company has a robust and honest environmental policy.
While this may sound daunting, having a solid policy doesn’t need to be complicated. Being honest, transparent and communicating your success as well as struggles goes a long way to build trust with consumers.
In this article, we’ve gathered some of the best examples of sustainability policies for you to take inspiration and guidance from.
Sustainability Policy Course: £20
The Small99 Premium Community membership gives you full access to all of our sustainability courses.
Learn how to write your own sustainability policy in just 2 hours with our online courses.
Free trial available.
Environmental Policy Examples
Example 1 – Crystal Doors
Crystal Doors are a door and window manufacturer based in Rochdale. They’ve won countless awards for their work on sustainability and their policy pages are a good example of how far you can go with the communication.
They’ve really adopted a fully transparent approach with significant information on their struggles and challenges, and the business benefits of their journey too.
It’s all written in plain English and is easy to follow. Following what they do and you won’t go far wrong!
Example 2 – Rapaniu
Rapaniu make sustainable clothing in their wind-powered warehouse on the Isle of Wight.
Their policy page is approachable and easy to understand with graphics and short statements making it digestible. It’s a great example of how a “policy” can be more of a marketing page too. Videos and graphics demonstrate their action far better than a lengthy set of bullet points.
Example 3 – COOK
Cook make “remarkable food for your freezer” – offering upmarket ready meals that are environmentally conscious and sustainably sourced.
Their climate change action page is a good example of how simple your policy can be, with a range of actions and statements of what they’ve done, and what they plan to do, all in one place.
Example 4 – Wholegrain Digital
Wholegrain are the leaders in environmentally friendly websites. With the internet consuming as much energy as the aviation industry, it’s a tall order to keep websites running smoothly without taking up extra data centers energy.
What we love about Wholegrain’s policy is how it goes beyond Net Zero or Environmental, and also touches upon the Financial and Social impacts of what they do.
It’s a clear list as you would expect a policy page to be, with bonus points for the comprehensive nature of their impact.
Example 5 – Hayne’s House
Hayne’s House are a sustainable wedding venue based in Kent.
Of all small businesses they have my favourite policy page as it shows where they’ve been, but also where they are going.
There’s two pages here:
They’ve included all of the different schemes they’re a member of, as well as a roadmap of intended actions future and past. They include links to their measurement documents and Net Zero commitments too.
All of it is exceedingly transparent and honest too.
How to Write an Environmental Policy
What is a Sustainability Policy?
In short, it’s a policy that demonstrates your environmental and sustainability claims and actions. Like any policy, it should show your commitments and actions you’re taking on everything to do with the environment.
There’s no legal set format (yet) for one, but there are broad guidelines it should follow.
It doesn’t have to be a “policy” as such, and as we saw above it can take different forms with varying amounts of information.
At this stage, something is better than nothing so start a page and use it as a place to hold all of the actions you’re taking.
Your policy page should include as much information as possible. Net Zero targets, actions you’ve taken, any nitty-gritty details about your products, the lot.
It’s likely to change regularly, and should do as you progress on your journey, new technologies become available and your company adapts.
Why have one?
For small businesses, greenhushing is often a bigger risk than greenwashing. Saying nothing about your green progress is often more common from small businesses who lack the power or agency of larger companies tod o more.
It’s important to have a transparent environmental policy to build trust with consumers.
A report by Futurerra suggested 73% of consumers are interested in the transparency of products they buy.
98% of consumers said it’s a brand’s responsibility to make positive change.
However, perhaps the most surprising stat from their work is that 49% of consumers trusted a brand more, and 40% the same if they were honest about the negative impacts of their product.
Only 11% said they would trust them less.
It pays dividends clearly to be open and transparent about your struggles and successes. As a small business you have limited resources to make change happen and consumers understand that. Being transparent about it builds trust and a more successful business as a result.
With the Green Claims Code coming into play throughout 2022, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re clearly communicating your green activities.
Environmental policy template for small business
A generic template isn’t a good idea, as your journey and environmental impacts will be considerably different to another company, even in similar sectors.
While the framework can be similar it’s important you work through common questions and answer them yourself to come up with a unique policy that reflects your own actions and journey.
For example, if we take two coffee shops – one may be able to change to renewable energy easily due to a good personal relationship with a landlord. Another may be renting from a commercial tenant that doesn’t offer such flexibility.
While the rest of their policy may look similar, the difference here about one using renewable energy and one not is an important one to communicate, especially in regards to Net Zero.
Both Cafes have tried to change which is the important thing, but it is out of control for the other which needs explaining. As such, a template wouldn’t give the flexibility to communicate this effectively.