Companies directed to post environmental violations on their websites
The voluntary Corporate Environment Policy (CEP) of the companies has been made mandatory, albeit indirectly, with a condition that the companies' will post environmental violations on their websites.delhi Updated: May 04, 2011 21:12 IST
The voluntary Corporate Environment Policy (CEP) of the companies has been made mandatory, albeit indirectly, with a condition that the companies' will post environmental violations on their websites.
The environment ministry has issued an internal circular directing its statutory committees for environment and forest clearances at the centre and the states to include corporate environment policy as a mandatory condition for clearing both public and private sector projects.
The Environment Appraisal Committee grants environment clearance whereas Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) clears projects in the forest areas. No company can set up a project in India without their mandatory approval.
"There is a need to integrate the environmental concerns including those related to forestry, wildlife and bio-diversity, wherever applicable into the main stream of the corporate policies," the ministry's internal circular dated April 26 said.
The direction to these committees say that corporate environment policy will have to be part of the terms of reference (also called initial approval) for conducting environment impact studies of the projects submitted for approval.
In case of projects, where terms of reference have already been issued the circular says complying with the policy will be a mandatory condition in the final approval.
In view of this direction, the ministry wants all major public sector units (PSUs) and companies especially in coal, steel, cement and petroleum sectors to clearly stipulate their corporate environment policy.
The parameters for the policy have also been detailed in the circular. The policy should declare adherence with environment and forest clearance conditions and if government records any environmental violations they should be posted on the company's website and reported to the board of directors.
The companies will be required to designate a person responsible for implementing the policy and government clearance conditions. "These measures to secure compliance will surely protect the project stakeholders just like financial systems and audit mechanism protect the shareholders," the circular issued by S K Aggarwal said.
Earlier, the ministry had incorporated corporate social responsibility as an environmental approval condition for projects such as Posco in Orissa and Chiria mines in Jharkhand.