Environmental Compliance: Have you checked your insurance?

Recently, it came to our attention that a client had suffered a fire at inside their property due to waste self-combusting over night during the summer. When the client tried to claim for the damage caused, their insurers directed them to a clause within their contents insurance that stated that waste had to be removed daily from their premises. Evidence presented that it was obvious that the waste had not been removed on a daily basis.

When implementing a system to accord to 14001, an organisation has to determine its appropriate compliance obligations. These are defined as “requirements that an organisation has to or chooses to comply with”. Whilst an insurance policy is not a law in its own right, an insurance policy has to be complied with. In this case it also directly relates to waste that is related to environmental management.

When reviewing our own office policy, we found a similarly worded clause, which states “Any rubbish/waste should be removed from the premises at the end of each day’s business; keep the areas immediately surrounding the premises free of …waste material”.

Therefore, ESP recommends that organisations look through their insurance policies to identify if there are any similar clauses. If so, then processes must be put in place to ensure ongoing compliance, along with the inclusion of the detail of the insurance policy within a compliance obligation register.