Corporate environmental responsibility means that companies must be aware of and control their environmental impacts. An environmental impact is defined as a change in the environment caused by the operations of a company. Environmental impacts can affect nature, human health and human living conditions. Environmental effects include waste water, waste and emissions into the air.
All products and services exert environmental impacts. They can manifest in raw material procurement, different phases of the manufacturing process, during use or disposal of the product. Proper management of environmental issues requires the identification of environmental impacts and the assessment of their significance.
You can make use of methods from environmental audits and risk assessments. Companies are required by law to ensure environmental protection in their operations. If these operations cause environmental contamination, the operator is liable to compensate the costs caused by rehabilitation.
Companies must heed general principles in their operations, such as principles of caution and care and principles of prevention and damage minimisation. The essential part of environmental legislation comprises of the Environmental Protection Act and the Environmental Protection Decree with stipulations on environmental protection authorities, environmental authorisation, supervision of environmental protection and monitoring the state of the environment, among others.
It is the duty of companies to be aware of the legislation pertaining to their own operations. Authorities like the municipal environmental authority or, on matters related to chemicals, the rescue services and the Safety Technology Authority (Tukes) provide instructions and advice. Many interest groups and industry associations have collected industry-specific information on environmental legislation on their website.
Environmental responsibility checklist