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FLEXO Magazine : April 2009
PLANTS & PROCESSES Developing a Sustainability Policy By Doreen M. Monteleone, Ph.D. and Gary A. Jones of commitment to the environment and worker health and safety, which documents a way of thinking and a process that helps a company work toward becoming more sustainable. A sustainabil- ity policy explicitly states the value, commitment and goals of an organization. The development of a sustainability policy is a critical step in gaining recognition under the Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) PartnershipSM A . For a printer to be recognized as either a Candidate Pending Verifi cation (CPV) or a Sustainable Green Printer (SGP), they must have a formal sustainability policy, have it signed by an owner or responsible corporate offi cial, and post it in a prominent public location. A sustainability policy sets out the organization’s commit- ment toward adoption of sustainable business practices. The SGP Partnership requires four major commitments to be addressed: • Compliance with environmental, health and safety requirements. • Continuous improvement, including areas not subject to regulation. • Pollution prevention that emphasizes source reduction, re- use and recycling. • Communicating information on sustainability performance. POLICY DEVELOPMENT A meaningful sustainability policy is focused, contains relevant content, has supporting documents and resources and has man- agement support. A sustainability policy needs to clearly state the company’s vision statement and present core values and principles. The policy is meant to provide inspired leadership that establishes the framework and procedures that will be imple- mented to meet the stated objectives. If the policy’s content is not relevant to the company’s existing culture and operation, it might do more harm than good. The policy should be signed and dated by the owner or a re- sponsible corporate offi cial. Signatures demonstrate a personal commitment by the highest company offi cial on the premises. If the names change, it should be updated by the new responsible offi cial as quickly as possible. Supporting documents and re- sources help employees understand and implement the policy, as well as cross-reference other relevant company documents and provide contact assistance. 52 FLEXO APRIL 2009 sustainability policy is a formal, public statement declar- ing a company’s internal practices to improve its sustain- ability performance as an organization. It is a statement POLICY MAINTENANCE & USE Once a sustainability policy is developed, it must not be placed on a shelf to be forgotten or only produced when requested by a customer. It needs to be shared with management, employees, customers, vendors, and other interested parties. The policy also needs to be revisited periodically to see if it still refl ects the com- pany’s values with respect to sustainability. The policy should be posted on the company’s Web site and in a place where all employees and visitors can readily see it. The best location is in the entrance lobby next to the building’s recep- tionist. It should be reviewed frequently to ensure current appli- cability, and revised as appropriate. While companies and sites are frequently audited for confor- mance with regulatory and procedural requirements, few audit for conformance with their sustainability policy. This is the ulti- mate in credible corporate governance because any deviations in conformance with the policy will be leading indicators of prob- lems yet to come. WHERE DO I START? Management must be behind the development of a sustain- ability policy. If management does not allocate the resources, it will be extremely diffi cult, if not impossible, to have it be a meaningful endeavor. Those companies that have successfully embraced sustainability understand the need and fi nd ways to www. f le xography. org