A lot of businesses, both big and small, rely on outside environmental compliance services to keep their businesses running and in compliance with environmental regulations. Sometimes this is because their compliance obligations seem too overwhelming to handle in-house, or there just doesn’t seem to be enough time or people to dedicate to compliance reporting.
The biggest obstacles most companies face are:
- Not enough time
- Not enough people
- Difficulty of tasks involved
It is important to undestand that these obstance can be overcome from within any organization, rather than looking to outside consultants. In fact, with the right tools and resources, your entire compliance management system can become completely independent and put you back in control.
ERA’s team of environmental consultants firmly believes that in-house environmental management will always trump third-part environmental compliance services, and here’s our countdown of reasons why:
#4 You Are the Expert in Your Business
No matter how many years of experience an environmental consultant has, they will never know more about your business than you do. You’re the one that purchases your raw materials, the one who deals with waste disposal, and the one that manages your processes and production every day.
If you rely on environmental consultants, you are literally expecting a stranger to understand your business as well as you do. And an environmental consultant will work with dozens of different facilities during reporting season, which means your data and facility are just part of the crowd. There’s a good chance what makes your compliance situation unique and challenging could get overlooked.
There’s a reason the most successful sustainable companies are using in-house environmental data management systems: they understand their own processes down to the smallest detail. And when it comes to environmental compliance reporting, those small details can make or break you.
#3 Simplified Decision Making
As a business owner or environmental manager, you are always being asked to make important decisions as quickly as possible. It could be the decision to install a new scrubber, to change the materials you are using, or to change the way you manage your waste at the end of the product life cycle.
But making those decisions is made all that much harder when you aren’t processing your own reports and aren’t managing your own data. You need concrete data to make smart decisions, and having to go through a consultant “gatekeeper” only slows you down. Making decisions on a consultant’s timeline rather than throughout the year stifles your ability to be proactive.
Emissions forecasting is another essential part of the decision making process, and if you don’t master how to do it yourself, you’ll end up needing to wait for a consultant to crunch the numbers for you before you can make a move.
#2 Long-Term Cost Efficiency
Purchasing environmental compliance services puts you between a financial rock and a hard place: by the time you’re considering hiring a consultant you are already at risk for paying a noncompliance fine or are facing paying a consultant’s hefty fees. In either case, be prepared to fork out a lot of cash. And because you’re facing dire straits, it can feel like you don’t have much of a choice.
The only escape is to manage your compliance yourself, at a price you can more easily budget for and control. Having an in-house compliance team will cost less than hiring consultants every year, and – more importantly – you’ll get to set the price you’re willing to pay.
In the long term, investing in a building a strong foundation for environmental management in-house is a smarter investment. You could spend thousands of dollars on environmental compliance services to stay in compliance for a year or so, or you could invest that same money into upgrading your own EMS and see continuous growth & improvements for many years. There’s simply no contest.
#1 Puts You Back in Control
The number one reason to choose in-house environmental management over third-party compliance services is that it puts the power back into your hands.
Here’s the one thing environmental compliance consultants don’t want you to know: if you rely on them to handle your environmental management & reports for one year, you’ll probably need them again the next year… and the one after that.
That’s because you get stuck into a cycle of dependence, and never develop any of the skills or expertise that make for a strong and independent EH&S department.
When you are in control of your environmental compliance reporting and data management, you’ll get the experiences that will make your compliance management stronger each year and feel more empowered to make smarter decisions.
Want to learn how to escape the cycle of environmental compliance services dependence? Check out ERA’s free guide on building your own in-house Environmental Management System (EMS).
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 Credit: Mark Coggins