There are many sources you could turn to for best-practice environmental compliance. Every state of Australia has its own environmental protection agency (EPA) or equivalent, each with its own regulations and recommendations to keep businesses in check.
However, for today, we’ve gone straight to the top for over-arching advice on how businesses can operate with total responsibility and respect for the environment.
If you need guidance that’s more specific to your state or region, get in touch with WolfPeak’s expert team. We’ll be sure to advise you on how best to operate your business with the environment in mind. Not only that, but we will do so with consideration to how sustainability can boost your bottom line and support your business for the long term.
The Compliance Framework
The Department has set out six core elements for improving compliance with national environmental law. They are intelligence, risk analysis, strategy, monitoring, operations, and evaluation and reporting.
Intelligence considers the technology used to understand the types and degree of non-compliance, and to predict the non-compliance issues that may occur in the future. In a business context, this step is crucial to understand if you have the tools in place to stay on top of regulations. For example, you may need accurate sensors to measure your emissions, and the calculation tools to analyse this data. Alternatively, this step (and most others) could be outsourced to environmental consultants like WolfPeak to help measure your environmental impact.
Risk analysis takes the data from above and assesses where your business might be at risk of non-compliance. You may be creating more dust than is permitted, disposing of hazardous waste incorrectly, or burning more fuel than necessary. Risk analysis in the form of an environmental impact audit will surface any issues that your business has established.
Strategy then builds on the previous two elements and creates actionable steps that your business can maintain with a commitment to the environment. You may commit to installing a certain number of solar panels, reducing your waste, or purchasing carbon offsets. If your business needs help discovering and developing the most important steps for you, WolfPeak can help to identify them and keep your team accountable.
In light of the Australian Consumer & Competition Consumer (ACCC) draft guidelines on environmental and sustainability claims, this step is especially important as your business should be careful not to make any claims that it doesn’t truly intend to fulfil.
Monitoring requires reliable data collection to ensure your claims are backed by research. Inspections and audits should be seen as an opportunity to prove your business’s worth, rather than a challenge to your reputation. Regular monitoring also gives you the opportunity to assess your performance — no matter whether it’s ahead or behind predetermined goals.
Operations relate more specifically to the Department’s administrative and enforcement functions. So long as your business remains compliant, it will scarcely have to deal with this side of the Department!
Evaluation and reporting are almost as important as the actual conduct of environmental practices. Without reporting on and learning from your actions, your business will struggle to improve its impact on the environment in the future. Returning to the ACCC guidelines, your business will be expected to report its progress no matter how well or poorly you’ve performed. This will give your customers more trust that you are committing to your goals and that you’re honest about your position.
Compliance Plan 19-23
In 2019, the Department outlined several priority areas where compliance would be key for the environment. These included hazardous waste; reduced emissions from fuel, synthetic greenhouse gases and controlled products; increased compliance with energy efficiency legislation; and minimised exposure to fraud.
The plan for the coming four years is yet to be released, but WolfPeak is sure to be on top of those priorities when they are made public. If you need expert advice on where to focus your business’s environmental energy, get in touch and we’ll point you in the right direction.
If you’re interested to learn more about the ACCC’s draft guidance for business on environmental and sustainability claims, click here or contact us to discuss how it impacts your business.