For business and industry

How to manage your environmental impact


All business and industry activity, from small start-ups to larger operations, can have an impact on their surrounding areas. As with any business risk, it is your responsibility to manage risks to the environment caused by your normal business operation, as well as incidents of pollution or waste.

Good environmental management makes business sense. Not only is it beneficial for your local environment, but it can save you money.

EPA can help you understand your obligations and access guidance on preventative measures you can implement at your business.

Why is managing risk important?

Managing risk can help your community – and business – by preventing:

  • harm to the environment and/or human health
  • liability for damage to neighbouring properties
  • waste of raw materials and money
  • loss of reputation
  • being prosecuted by regulators. 

Examples of harm to the environment and human health:

Noise, odour, and dust can affect the health of people living nearby.

Stormwater run-off from sites can enter nearby waterways.

Spills can end up in drains and can also impact waterways, land and groundwater.

Contamination interferes with uses of the water environment including drinking water and recreation.

What you can do to manage risk

The best way to manage risk and minimise harm is to implement preventative measures, or reasonable steps, to ensure things don't go wrong.

  • Start by understanding your business risks. See Assessing and controlling risk (publication 1695). This guide can help you to identify, assess, and control your risks by creating a hazard and risk register.
  • Identify and implement good preventative practices and controls.
  • You can strengthen your environmental risk management by developing an environmental management plan or system. The level of detail in your plan or system will reflect the level of risk in your operation. See Environmental risk management.
  • Sometimes managing risks to human health and the environment can be complicated. You may need a consultant to help to identify and understand hazards, and design solutions to prevent or mitigate harm. See Engaging consultants.

Good environmental risk management means:

IGU landing page illustration
Understanding your environmental risk and... what preventative action you can take to... prevent harm to the environment and human health.
  • Managing noise
  • Chemical storage and handling
  • Managing waste
  • Erosion and sediment control
  • Managing odour and dust

Page last updated on 2 Jul 2018