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An Environmental Management Plan (EMP) describes the processes that an organization will follow to maximize its compliance and minimize harm to the environment. This plan also helps an organization map its progress toward achieving continual improvements.

Each organization is unique and, as a result, so are EMPs. The level of detail and length of an EMP will vary depending on the type of organization, the complexity of its processes and the maturity of the organization in understanding its environmental responsibilities. Some plans may end up being only a few pages long, while others could become extensive documents. Regardless of the organization’s situation, all environmental plans created and submitted as part of a KY EXCEL membership should include the following elements:

  • Policy 
  • Planning 
  • Implementation and Operation 
  • Checking and Corrective Action 
  • Management Review and Commitment to Improvement

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Policy statements are important to an organization because they help anchor the organization on a core set of beliefs. These environmental guiding principles keep all members of an organization pointed toward the same objective. They provide an opportunity for outside interests to understand the focus of the organization and for what it stands. These policy statements do not need to be long. In fact, it is often more preferable to keep the policy concise and focused so it is easy to read and becomes an effective tool in understanding the organization’s commitment. When properly developed, an environmental policy should commit the organization to:

  • Compliance with legal requirements and voluntary commitments. 
  • Minimizing waste and preventing pollution. 
  • Continual improvement in environmental performance, including areas not subject to regulations. 
  • Sharing information on environmental performance with the community. 


The planning portion of the EMP is intended to help an organization define its environmental footprint and then set environmental goals. Goals and objectives should focus on maximizing the organization’s positive impact on the environment. When evaluating this portion of the submitted EMPs, the department will be looking for the following elements:

  • Does the organization identify how it impacts the environment through its activities, products and services? 
  • Does the organization understand its legal requirements associated with protecting the environment? 
  • Does the organization set meaningful and focused environmental objectives and targets?

Implementation and Operation

A key portion of the EMP is how it defines the activities the organization will perform to meet its environmental objectives and targets. This section should identify specific tasks each person is responsible for, ensure task completion and set targets and deadlines for each of the identified activities. In addition, this area should specify the employee training, communication and outreach activities that are necessary to ensure successful implementation of the plan.

Checking and Corrective Action

The EMP should describe the process that will be followed to verify that the plan is being properly implemented and describe how implementation problems will be corrected in a timely manner. Routine evaluation and continual improvement to the process are necessary to make sure that the plan successfully leads the organization toward completion of environmental objectives and targets.

Management Review and Commitment to Improvement

Routine management review and support is a necessary and meaningful tool for the organization.  This section should identify the routine management evaluations that will be conducted to ensure that the plan is appropriate and effectively implemented and helps the organization meet its environmental objectives.

In addition to the services provided by Compliance Assistance staff, the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center (KPPC) may be able to help you address questions as you work on developing or implementing your environmental management plan.