DEP LAUNCHES STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM PROVIDING RECOGNITION FOR BUSINESSES THAT EXCEED REGULATORY EXPECTATIONS
(08/04) TRENTON - Everyone appreciates a pat on the back for going above and beyond what’s expected. This is the driving force behind a new initiative designed to motivate businesses to do more than the minimum required by environmental laws and regulations, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson announced today.
“The concept of an environmental cop on the beat has always been strong in New Jersey,” Commissioner Jackson said. “What is also strong is the spirit of innovation at the DEP. We are leading the country again, this time by defining and measuring the incredible amount of environmental good that exists in our state.”
The DEP’s new Environmental Stewardship Program will offer public acknowledgment to businesses that go beyond minimum environmental requirements. The goal is to encourage all businesses to evaluate their current facility operations and integrate stewardship initiatives into their operations.
These achievements will be noted by DEP inspectors during the routine course of their work, evaluated by DEP management, and posted on the DEP’s Web site.
“This is a sensible and long overdue approach to environmental protection that meshes corporate responsibility with public transparency,” Commissioner Jackson said. “I strongly believe that such stewardship practices can reduce a company’s costs, foster goodwill within their communities, and result in a cleaner environment for everyone.”
Inspectors will ask officials at businesses to answer a voluntary questionnaire that will provide a snapshot of programs they’ve implemented that go above and beyond state requirements.
The companies will be asked, among other things, whether they have broadly adopted stewardship activities, whether they have a comprehensive written environmental policy, whether they operate under an Environmental Management System designed to reduce environmental impacts, and whether they publish an annual environmental report.
The companies also will be asked whether they have documented their greenhouse gas emissions, whether they employ environmentally friendly purchasing policies, whether they operate certified green buildings, and whether they have employee trip reduction programs.
The inspector may review certain documents, processes and operating procedures to verify stewardship activities.
“The environmental cop always stands ready to catch people when they do something wrong,” Commissioner Jackson said. “But think of the potential rewards from catching someone when they do something right.”
For more information, go to: www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/stewardship