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ERA's Environmental Compliance Management Blog

Do You Make These 5 Compliance Management Mistakes?

Posted by Alex Chamberlain

Alex Chamberlain is a writer for ERA Environmental Management Solutions.

Compliance management is riddled with potential mistakes

Compliance management is central to every environmental, health and safety (EH&S) department. But there are a lot of ways to do it badly without even realizing it. Do you make any of these common compliance management mistakes in your business?

1) You Aren’t Automating Your Data Collection

If you aren’t using a data automation system to collect your data electronically from your emission sources, suppliers, and vendors, then you are doing things the hard way.

Manual collection of your environmental data means that your environmental compliance management takes longer, costs more, requires more EH&S specialists, and is just...more difficult.

EH&S managers continuously complain they are forced to spend too much time trying to collect material and emission data from countless data sources and don’t have enough time to actually do the important work of compliance management.

This story isn't the same for EH&S professionals that have been sharp enough to automate their data collection.

2) You Still Use Spreadsheets

Spreadsheet software can be a great tool for certain tasks - compliance management is not one of them. Using spreadsheets means that you need to be a spreadsheet specialist, not an environmental expert.

If you’re currently using spreadsheets in your EH&S department, consider this: which would you rather have in charge of your environmental compliance management - someone who knows spreadsheets inside and out, or someone trained in emission monitoring, corporate sustainability, and efficient resource allocation?

It's important to have the right tools for the job.

A spreadsheet is not the right tool.

3) You Use a Large Team of Environmental Managers

There’s nothing inherently wrong with having a large EH&S department, as long as everyone’s talent is being used effectively.

But more often than not, a large EH&S team indicates that your compliance management processes are not as efficient as they could be.

Are you forcing an environmental expert to spend all day on the computer manually typing in MSDS data? Have you ever lost track of information because there were too many people passing it on?

These are evidence of ineffective use of your resources.

4) You Hire Consultants to Take Care of it For You

Sure, a consultant can make your life easier by doing all of your emission determinations and reports for you, but that doesn’t really leave you better off in the long term.

In fact, you’ll probably pay for a consultant again next reporting period because you haven’t gained any environmental knowledge or compliance expertise about your own business through the consulting process.

That’s because consulting services create a continuing need for outside compliance management assistance instead of empowering you to do it yourself. An environmental compliance management software solution can enable you to do the same thing a consultant does, but has a far greater return on investment.

5) You Just Don’t Bother With Compliance Management

By far the worst mistake businesses make is to ignore environmental compliance management, completely.

For some reason, many companies just don’t seem to care and consider the inherent risk (which can rank in the millions of dollars) as a standard business expense.

The fact is, investing in compliance management is worth it: it costs less overall, your business will get more sustainable, and it looks better to clients.

Gone are the days when corporate social responsibility (CSR) was just a nice selling point. Your target market is already using CSR as a primary factor in its purchasing decisions. If you think environmental compliance management is simply a hassle, remember: the price of noncompliance is far greater than simply the cost of a noncompliance fine.

Have you ever made one of these compliance management mistakes? How did you fix the problem and what benefits have you seen?

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Topics: Environmental Compliance & Data Management, Emissions Management