THE BUSINESS VALUE OF ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE
Traditionally, compliance was little more than a reporting box to be filled, and an obligation to be fulfilled. However the compliance department increasingly has an audience throughout the corporation – and beyond. Those now interested in what the compliance department has to say include:
• Shareholders wanting to know about compliance progress and success
• Executives with interest in ensuring that compliance measures are in line with the company’s goals
• BoD wishing to compare the company’s practices with the competition’s
To all of these the compliance department must advise, on an ongoing basis, of the legal and financial risks in relation to any area of noncompliance. As such, their skill-set must now embrace clear and comprehensive reporting and proper communication, as well as data collation and management.
3. Adding to the Business
The role of compliance personnel is not limited just to reporting and advising. Environmental managers are now bringing more and more value to businesses, on their own terms and using their own initiative.
The data which environmental managers utilise on a day-to-day basis can have enormous value for companies, beyond just the scope of compliance. Taking this information and transforming it into business data can enable companies to implement strategic compliance initiatives; translating the compliance data into information for strategy officers to assist them in implementing specific, more cost-effective compliance plans for specific regions or sectors. Further strategic benefit would be the use of data to evaluate their contractors (based on performance and efficiency), assess their maintenance programs, and bring their sales information in line with compliance.
Other opportunities to add value to the business lie in areas such as:
• reviewing business goals and ethos
• involvement in integration / development of Compliance Management Software
• liaising with all sectors in compliance deadline information
• engaging financial officers in information-sharing about costs relating the compliance and associated business costs (such as providing reports, PR etc)
• creating a ratings system showing top compliant facilities compared to weakest facilities
• involvement in data collection processes
In a nutshell, to generate greater involvement in the performance of the firm, compliance managers need to determine how the information they access can be put into a context where it is of business value to the business managers – beyond pure compliance.