Environmental policy is the concern and development of objectives to improve the environment, conserve the natural principles of human life and promote sustainable development. In both the public and private spheres, environmental awareness is growing. In companies, ISO 14001 or EMAS certificates certify that they use environmental management systems. In this AgroCorrn article, we explain everything about what environmental policy is and examples , in addition to highlighting the principles of environmental policy .
- What is environmental policy and its principles
- What are the general principles of environmental policy and their meaning
- How should environmental policy be – summary
- Environmental policy: ISO 14001 example
- Environmental policy: examples
- Environmental policy: the United Nations climate change summits
- Agenda 2030, a clear example of environmental policy
What is environmental policy and its principles
What is environmental policy? Well explained in a simple way, environmental policy is the concern to help improve and take care of the environment , conserve the natural principles of humans and promote sustainable development , by setting clear short and long-term objectives related to all this on the whole.
In addition, environmental policies can be defined as the strategies carried out by different institutions , both national and international, which, through the development and application of different environmental regulations, seek to address existing environmental problems .
At the global level, we find that the UN has a specialized agency, whose main mission is to promote international cooperation in matters related to the environment, as well as to assess environmental conditions at the global, regional and national levels, developing For this, national and international strategies, this body is the UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) , whose importance is indisputable, which contributes to the application of environmental law by developing regulations and strengthening institutions for the rational management of the environment. environment, acting in turn, as the coordinating body on environmental matters within the United Nations.
Regarding the EU, environmental policies at European level focus on:
Promote an innovative and circular economy in which biodiversity is protected, valued and restored and health risks derived from environmental problems are minimized, enhancing the resilience of society by decoupling growth from the use of resources .
As for the main principles that govern these policies, they are contained in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), specifically in its article 191 and are those of caution, prevention, and the principle of “whoever pollutes pays” .
In summary, the principles of environmental policies for sustainable development to achieve clean and ecological economic growth are:
- The principle of environmental responsibility : we can all improve our environment.
- The principle of prevention : better to prevent than to correct ecological disasters.
- The principle of substituting dangerous substances for less polluting ones and energy-intensive processes for more efficient ones.
- The polluter pays in cases where environmental damage cannot be prevented.
- The principle of coherence that requires the coordination of environmental policies with other departments and the integration of environmental objectives.
- Principle of cooperation in social groups that work with objectives of environmental improvement and its implementation is essential.
- Environmental policies should always be based on the results of scientific research .
What are the general principles of environmental policy and their meaning
When it comes to general principles, we are dealing with the main “ideas” that will serve as the basis for the elaboration of the different environmental regulations . In short, they are the structural base on which the different strategies related to environmental protection will be sustained. These are the two main ones in environmental policies:
Principles of precaution and prevention
They focus on the main purpose of managing risk, this means that, in cases where there is a suspicion of negative effects on human health or the environment derived from certain policies or actions, in these cases and after a prior evaluation objective scientific, if it cannot be assured that these negative effects will not occur, it will always be chosen not to continue with said policies or actions. An example of the application of this principle, we have it in cases in which a doubt arises about the possible harmful effects of a certain product, if after the corresponding scientific evaluation, those doubts persist, the withdrawal of said product should always be chosen. From the market.
“Whoever pollutes pays”
It is undoubtedly the “principle par excellence” of environmental law policies, its main application is carried out through the Directive on environmental liability, with the aim of preventing damage to the environment or remedying those that have already occurred. Basically it translates into the principle by which, professional activities that threaten the environment, have an additional tax derived from said risk, paying for both preventive and reparative actions of the damage.
How should environmental policy be – summary
Environmental policy is a management model adopted by an entity or company to deal with the environment and natural resources . This must begin with an environmental commitment, a document that should govern all activity in the company and that should reflect the basic points of environmental policy.
Some of the points that should be included in this environmental commitment that will guide the company’s policy are:
- They will always act according to the laws and regulations of environmental management.
- Any environmental impact will be minimized as much as possible.
- The waste generated will be minimized as much as possible.
- Reuse and recycling will be advocated.
- Risks at the patrimonial, occupational and environmental level will be prevented.
- Environmental audits will be carried out periodically to ensure that the established points are met.
Environmental policy: ISO 14001 example
The ISO 14001 2015 is the standard on which the contents that should be present in the quality policy of a company in environmental matters set forth. It marks the points that the management must implement, maintain and enforce around the environmental policy in your company. Among the things that the norm imposes is that:
- The context of the company’s operations and the environmental impacts that may arise from its activity must be established.
- The frame of reference must be set so that the objectives are established at the environmental level.
- It must include a commitment to environmental protection, which must necessarily prevent pollution, use resources sustainably, mitigate climate change and protect ecosystems as well as biodiversity.
- Legal commitments must be included.
- A commitment to improve the Environmental Management System must be included.
In addition, environmental policies must :
- Stay documented.
- Be communicated to all members of the company.
- Be available to any interested party.
Environmental policy: examples
Environmental policy is something that must be present in all companies, from the smallest to the largest multinationals. There are a large number of aspects that we can take into account when following appropriate environmental measures, here are some examples of environmental policy :
- Change the vehicle fleet for electric vehicles, such as electric bicycles or electric cars.
- Recycle the paper that is used and always use recycled paper.
- Avoid printing all those documents that are not strictly necessary.
- Train, communicate and educate workers in ecological practice.
- Promote ecological activities under the protection of the company, for example, going out to clean the forest or plant trees.
- Reduce the environmental impact of the company: air conditioning, heating, electricity and water.
Environmental policy: the United Nations climate change summits
The main expression of environmental policies, arises from the summits on climate change , in which the member states of the UN meet to manage and create the agreements on which the regulatory regulations on environmental matters will be governed. The main international treaties and conventions on which current environmental policies are based have emerged from these summits, an example of these is the Kyoto Protocol , agreed in 1997, whose main objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Paris agreement , adopted at the Paris climate summit in 2015 with the aim of fighting climate change, which will begin to apply in 2020, as well as the 2030 agenda, including the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, successors to the Millennium Development Goals, approved during the Millennium Summit in 2000 at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
In 2019, the Climate Summit was held in Madrid , with the aim of promoting global action against the climate emergency and implementing the Paris Agreement in 2020, as well as getting the different countries to commit to a greater reduction of CO2 throughout 2020. It is still too early to know what objectives have been achieved and what they will consist of, since it has been a summit not without controversy, reaching a length of time including the entire weekend due to the impossibility of the different countries to reach agreements.
Agenda 2030, a clear example of environmental policy
One of the greatest examples of environmental policy worldwide, we find it within the 2030 Agenda , which includes the Sustainable Development Goals, constituting an action plan agreed by the UN member countries for, among other goals, protect the environment and combat climate change globally.
There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals , among which, in terms of the environment, we find the following:
- Guarantee the availability of water and its sustainable management.
- Ensure access to affordable, safe, sustainable and modern energy.
- Guarantee sustainable consumption and production patterns.
- Adopt urgent measures to combat climate change and its effects (taking note of the agreements concluded in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).
- Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
- Protect, restore and promote the use of terrestrial ecosystems.
- Carry out sustainable management of forests.
- Fight against desertification, stop and reverse land degradation.
- Put a stop to the loss of biological diversity.
The goals included in the 2030 Agenda are expressed as global aspirations , with the governments of each country setting their own national goals, taking into account the circumstances in which each country finds itself, but always pursuing the common goal. Find out more about this agenda to improve the environment in this other AgroCorrn article on What is the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development .
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