As an environmental specialist or EH&S manager, you already know how essential environmental compliance management is. But one of the biggest frustrations in the industry is that EH&S can be undervalued - sometimes even dismissed! This can lead to smaller budgets and tighter resources. But how (we hear you ask) can this catastrophe be avoided?
Simple, if you want to remedy (or avoid) these problems in your own company, it’s time to apply these 3 tips that will make your boss fall in love with your environmental compliance management.
1) If it doesn't make dollars, it doesn't make sense
The secret to showing the importance of environmental compliance is to break everything down into dollars and cents. Everything your EH&S department does is directly related to how the company spends and makes its money, but this is not always clearly understood across your organization.
As part of your compliance efforts, you should be working towards the goal of minimizing waste. Not only will this reduce the chance of a getting slapped with a fine from the EPA (ouch), but it will make sure that resources are used more effectively.
This is something every EH&S department aims to do, but too often they're just isn’t speaking the right language.
Instead of reporting how much paint gets wasted because of an inefficient spray gun or how much water is purchased to flush equipment, the savvy EH&S managers tells the executives how much money is going down the drain.
Each drum of paint brought in costs the company money. Most of the time, this stuff is not cheap and managing how it gets used is a matter of smart spending.
Every time you find a way to improve a process or use a more efficient material, it’s like you’re putting money back into the bank.
Be sure to communicate these numbers directly to your boss with a big, fat dollar sign in front of them ($$$).
2) Communicate you results, clearly
Sometimes the best EH&S departments go unnoticed because they keep things running so smoothly that attention-grabbing issues never arise.
While this can be proof your environmental compliance management has things completely under control, it still doesn’t help you demonstrate your worth to executives and shareholders.
Demonstrating all the ways you improve the company’s performance is critical when getting executives to be EH&S Champions. Executives need a clear & concise overview of the progress you've made, which demonstrates your worth.
(If you're not sure what that is, re-read point #1 above)
Reading the standard compliance report you submit to the EPA simply isn’t a good option for your CEO. Think visuals, brevity, and summaries instead.
Unfortunately, most EH&S teams don’t have the time to write executive reports on top of all their other mandatory reporting and environmental data management tasks.
There’s a reason that environmental management systems with executive dashboards and visualization interfaces are such a hot commodity in the environmental compliance software market: executives love having the data right in front of them & environmental specialists enjoy not having to crunch the numbers.
3) Get more bang for your buck with CSR Reporting
Good environmental compliance means completing all of your mandatory EPA reports on time and without errors.
Great environmental compliance management means that you use your specialized knowledge to help out the marketing and public relations team by demonstrating your company's corporate social responsibility (CSR).
The best way to do this? Public reporting!
Examples of CSR reporting can be tracking carbon footprints or ensuring your manufacturing process takes a cradle to cradle (as opposed to cradle to grave) approach.
This is quickly becoming one of the most sought after EH&S responsibilities. It makes the company greener, more sustainable, and much more desirable to modern consumers. Some companies have built entire marketing campaigns off of CSR initiatives.
If you change the way you look at environmental compliance management to include CSR reporting, it enables your EH&S department to do double duty as marketers and publicists
How can your boss not love that?
If you're looking for ways to improve your compliance management and get your boss championing your efforts, take the first step with a free compliance evaluation.
About the Author: Alex Chamberlain is a writer and blogger who regularly contributes to ERA Environmental Management Solutions' blog. You can find Alex on Google+, LinkedIn & ERA's Environmental Compliance Blog
(image used under CC license, courtesy of A. Pagliaricci)