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Advice needed - Environmental MS - unwritten but customer requests policy document


Quite Involved in Discussions
We're a UK based, small manufacturing company in the automotive and other sectors. We've been operating since 2003 and ISO 9001 certified since 2004. We've not felt the need to go for any other certification. However we're getting customer forms more often asking if we've got a certain standard or if we planned to get it. Not exactly forcing us that way but making the point it's more favourable to get them.

The latest is with an existing non automotive customer who has changed the way they procure items and as a result we need to undergo onboarding. Loads of slightly irrelevant questions about conflict materials, slavery, etc. But among them are requests for environmental policy documents.

Now we're a low impact business with mostly inert raw materials. Some chemicals but overall a low impact site (except perhaps for carbon). We've really never needed a policy document. Or it was thought we didn't. We comply with local regulations and have never had any issue relating to environment. We've had site visits but always clean bill of health.

So what are the benefits to our business should we go down documenting our environmental management system. We do have a system because without it we'd have had issues before. Low impact isn't no impact.

Basically I like the idea of standards and systems. Documenting quality, environmental and occupational health management systems would be interesting and useful experience personally but it's a business decision. If it ain't broke don't fix it versus growth in terms of our documents management systems.

In the meantime I'm looking at examples and templates for environmental policies to complete this customer's purchasing system questionnaires. Doing it shouldn't be about a customer's ticklist.


Not out of the crisis
Staff member
Super Moderator
Just because it's on a survey form doesn't mean it's required or even preferred by the customer.
Most just want to see if you have a quality system. You don't have to check all the boxes.
They'll tell you if they prefer suppliers that have sound environmental systems or policies.

I've never lost a customer for not having ISO 14001 or solid environmental policy/procedures in place and I've been in a bunch of industries.

It's a business decision... is the customer is worth the expense of putting these together?

Conflict minerals is another animal and it's a PITA if starting from scratch. But still, I've done the CMRT, had some gaps, and did not have a formal policy in place and did not lose any customers. Same for REACH and RoHS - did the research, made a cert. No formal policy or procedure.
Human trafficking has been rare for me - usually I've just gotten a form to sign from the customer.
The reality is that many larger organisations utilise submissions by their suppliers to support their own commitment to the environment and support their approach to meeting their requirements of ISO 14001. You can have a policy that states you are committed whilst not backing yourself into the proverbial corner.

I have attached a basic environmental policy document that we utilise in systems we develop for clients - amend and use as you wish.

Hope this helps


In addition to the above we have found (working across Australia, Asia Pacific, Europe and the USA that there has been a definite shift towards utilising certification across the three common standards 9001, 14001, 45001 as prerequisites for supply and particularly in a competitive environment in tenders and government procurement that companies who are certified have a higher level of success. Since the alignment of the three standards listed and there structures are almost identical it is easier to develop and certify an integrated system than it was 5 years ago when the structure of the standards were very different. Happy to assist if you have further questions cheers
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