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Issue 71 July 2013

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Strategic EHS Compliance Assurance Management

How can you promote continuous improvement in the environmental, health and safety (EHS) management of your operations and activities, and generate active participation among all employees, worldwide?

 Not long ago, environmental, health and safety (EHS) management was simply considered a necessary cost of business. But now that firms are increasingly turning their sights to environmental and business sustainability, EHS management represents more than just managing risks and potential liabilities. For a growing number of companies, effective EHS management means:

  • Actively contributing to the company’s bottom line by identifying cost-saving opportunities.
  • Helping to maintain, improve and expand market penetration with products that avoid and/or solve certain environmental problems.

EHS Management Improvement

 At ENHESA we help our clients identify and understand management deficiencies that contribute to EHS compliance discrepancies and business risks. This involves developing and improving corporate EHS Compliance Assurance Programs. For example, this can include making presentations to the board of directors or senior managers and defining and integrating appropriate management procedures. We also assist clients in developing systematic approaches to managing EHS-related risks and issues at either a corporate, division or facility level.

In addition to helping clients develop EHS management systems based on nationally and internationally recognised management standards, we offer a wealth of knowledge and experience (based on our application of the “best environmental management practices” used in all industrial sectors by our wide range of clients). Most companies can, without undue expense, put in place a standardised EHS management system, such as ISO 14001 or EMAS. While this is usually a good starting point, such systems do not necessarily address all of a company’s particular needs in terms of assuring environmentally sustainable business development.

We work closely with our clients to:

  • Identify and define the nature of actual or potential risks and problems to be managed. 
  • Identify their specific system needs, and then help to design or adapt and implement cost effective management solutions. 

We then work with our clients to guide them through the necessary steps to develop appropriate EHS management solutions to meet their needs.

See also:

Interactive EHS/EMS System Development Training

ENHESA's consultants have developed and implemented a number of training courses and seminars aimed at improving clients’ knowledge of the benefits of proactive environmental management and to help them develop a systematic and competitive approach to EHS management. Such courses and seminars combine theoretical lectures with workgroup sessions to develop practical experience. In addition to these trainings, ENHESA also conducts seminars about currently applicable and emerging environmental policies, legislation and regulatory requirements.

Communicating with Stakeholders

 The earliest innovations in EHS compliance assurance management generally focused on the identification and resolution of environmental problems before they became public or subject to regulatory action. Today, however, with the advent of the ISO 14.001 standard and the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, more emphasis is being put on informing the public about a company or organisation’s environmental performance. Moreover, major clients are increasingly demanding information about the environmental attributes of their products and their company’s overall environmental performance.

We help our clients:

  • Understand the background of stakeholder concerns and formulate sound responses. 
  • Deliver clear messages to the broad public and other stakeholders. 
  • Collect and analyse key information and data and write annual environmental reports and brochures. 
  • Organise information and present it in such a way as to respond to the known concerns and questions of the public to whom the information is addressed.

Forecasting Emerging Environmental Policies and Regulations

 ENHESA works on a global basis to advise multinational clients in a variety of sectors on emerging environmental policy and legislative issues and trends that will affect their operations and/or products. Through our work with local experts in virtually every corner of the globe, we have access to the senior policymakers and legislators that are shaping tomorrow’s environmental agenda. We help our clients understand the future opportunities and constraints brought on by these new developments.

See also: the ENHESA Global Forecast

Identifying and Assessing Strategic Opportunities

 Our EHS regulatory trend tracking and forecasting efforts bear fruit when we identify, with our clients, new business opportunities from foreseeable regulatory and market developments. Our objective is to identify and analyse the “mega-trends” that will impact a given client’s business in a given product or market area. We then work with the client to develop reasonable scenarios of how such issues might play out. Our ultimate goal is to help our clients better position themselves for tomorrow’s markets and to seize competitive advantages. 

To understand these future scenarios, we not only look at current and emerging issues but also at evolving policy responses to not yet fully defined concerns. We then consult the key policymakers and influencers concerned to validate our information and theories, before applying them. Today, there is virtually no other group so dedicated to helping our clients track and understand the ramifications of emerging environmental policies and future legislation on their products worldwide.

Interface with Decision Makers

 ENHESA regularly tracks the positions of critical decision-makers and issues influencers, and assists clients in communicating their messages. We advise our clients as to who the key persons they want to influence are and how to best approach their concerns and present the message. Services in this respect can include:

  • Identification and profiling of key proponents and protagonists on particular issues or legislative measures (e.g. lawmakers, executive agencies, influencers such as jurists and other legal experts, journalists and media sources, professional practitioners and their industry associations, and influential non-governmental organisations (NGOs))
  • Monitoring and reporting on the positions adopted by key persons and organisations on particular issues and initiatives. 
  • Organisation of informal or formal meetings with decision-makers and influencers, including roundtable discussions and information dissemination campaigns. 

ENHESA does not, itself, seek to influence the decisions of policy makers on behalf of its clients. We do, however, place our clients in a favourable position to convey their messages, while maintaining our neutrality in the face of such efforts. As a result of our approach, policy makers occasionally approach our consultants as recognised experts on issues of critical concern to our clients. Because of our neutral stance and the value of the information we bring to them, our consultants often enjoy the trust of such policy makers.

Experience

 ENHESA’s consultants have played a key role in helping numerous clients appreciate the impacts of evolving EHS policies on their existing and planned operations and product markets.

Examples of this include:

  • Development of the first environmental management system based on the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) for a nuclear electric generating facility in Belgium. Conducted initial environmental review and risk assessment and regulatory compliance audit; prepared facility environmental policy statement for public dissemination; guiding internal working groups in development of management system elements and working procedures with a view to EMAS registration by end 1997. 
  • Design and implementation support of a health and safety management system for field installation and maintenance staff of a multinational semiconductor manufacturing equipment manufacturer throughout Europe and the Middle East. Under our guidance, site management is currently developing their own management approaches, procedures and manuals. 
  • Design and development, for the Global Environmental Management Initiative, of the ISO 14001 Self-Assessment Checklist for facility managers to benchmark performance against the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard. 
  • Development of the UNEP Environmental Management System Training Resource Kit, based extensively on ISO 14000 elements and other “best management” practices, and aimed at improving environmental management performance in large and small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries and economies in transition. 
  • Forecast trends in environmental regulatory developments over the coming decade in 25 countries around the world (western and eastern Europe, North America, Latin America and the Asia/Pacific regions) likely to impact manufacturing operations of world’s largest motor vehicle manufacturer. Helped to establish minimum environmental management standards for worldwide operations.
  • Investigated the major environmental trends affecting the market for a specific product group of a specialty chemicals (silicones) manufacturer, to identify new business opportunities for client’s products by expansion into new markets with existing products and by developing new products to meet future customer needs. The results of the study focused on supporting client objectives to identify three new business opportunities, each worth US$ 10 million in revenues. 
  • Assisted the European Commission in its review of the EU’s Fifth Environmental Action Programme by analysing the Programme’s record of implementation to date and providing recommendations on how the Programme can be strengthened to contribute to the EU’s goal of sustainable development and developed a communication strategy to support the integration of environmental objectives in the policies and actions of public authorities, in economic sectors and for consumers. 
  • Identification of business risk indicators for evaluation of potential investment targets based on actual or potential environmental liabilities to extend investment analysis model to Western Europe from the United States, for Innovest.

Results

  Here are some examples of the types of clients we have helped, and how: 

  • The first nuclear power generating facility to obtain EMAS registration. 
  • An advanced materials manufacturer that re-oriented new product R&D away from areas of declining market value and towards areas that will help solve future environmental problems faced by downstream customers.
  • The major automobile manufacturer that will anticipate future environmental standards and take these into account when building new plants and facilities, rather than pay expensive retrofits only months after they come on line. 
  • The consortium of electronics and IT equipment manufacturers that managed to compel the OECD and the European Commission to re-examine the policy conflicts between proposed take-back legislation and actual transfrontier shipment of waste rules

to name but a few...