C2.9.4 Objectives & Targets


An organisation should set objectives and targets. When setting Objectives and Targets, consider issues such as legal requirements, significant impacts, business requirements and the Environmental Policy.

Objectives and Targets should be reviewed regularly.

When setting Objectives and Targets, remember the SMART principle:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time Bound



Rather than “improve environmental performance”, which is a rather vague statement a specific target to reduce waste generated, increased waste recycled or reduce energy consumption is more appropriate.


If you cannot measure something you will be unable to monitor the progress. For example, “improve environmental performance” gives no parameters in which to examine performance. A target to reduce electricity consumption by 5% can be accurately measured and therefore monitored for improvement.


For objectives and targets to have any meaning, they should be possible to achieve. A target to “produce zero waste” many be commendable in spirit, but it is unlikely to be achievable. It is more appropriate to state “Reduce waste produced by 5%” or to “Divert 95% of waste from landfill”.


When setting objectives and targets, think about what you will actually be able to implement. A target to “Source all energy from renewable sources” is not realistic if it involves convincing the board to install wind turbines on all buildings and solar panels on the roof.

Time Bound

Objectives and targets should have a deadline. At this date you can review the progress and amend or withdraw the target as required. A deadline provides a timeframe to work to and allows you to develop a timeframe in which to implement measures.


Objective: Target: By Whom: Deadline:
To reduce waste. Establish wastage of materials during the production process for 2016. Production Manager & Environmental Manager 31.01.17
Reduce wastage during the production process by 10%. Production Manager 31.12.17
Establish quantity of packaging materials purchased in 20016. Purchasing Manager & Environmental Manager 31.01.17
Reduce packaging on material purchased by 5%. Purchasing Manager 30.06.17
To reduce energy consumption. Establish electricity consumption for 2016. Environmental Manager 31.01.17
Reduce electricity consumption by 10%. Production Manager 31.12.17


It should be noted that objectives and targets such as “No Environmental Prosecutions” are quite worthless. This should go without saying.

To ensure that objectives and targets are meaningful, it may be necessary to link them to turnover or production. If this year, an organisation only produced 50% of the products it produced last year, a reduction in energy and waste would be as a result of the limited production rather than the result of any environmental initiatives.