Will your products face insurmountable market entry problems because of new environmental restrictions on materials and substances?
Governments around the globe are increasingly scrutinising the environmental and human health impacts of products placed on the market today and are taking more strident measures to improve environmental quality by focusing on the product as distinct from the manufacturing process. Downstream customers and the ultimate consumer increasingly demand that products be environmentally benign throughout their life-cycle. Policymakers seek a new paradigm of “shared responsibility” between industry, consumers and government to improve the environmental performance of products and to progressively eliminate products and substances deemed “environmentally undesirable”.
Concepts such as “Producer responsibility”, “product liability”, “product stewardship” and “life-cycle product management” have caught the attention of global manufacturers and are forcing them to focus on a new dimension within the core issues of their businesses: the quality of their products The concept of quality has increasingly been stretched beyond the specific characteristics of the use of a product to cover the products’ interaction with all environmental media throughout their entire life cycle. Being “environment-friendly” has ceased being an easy marketing device and has become one of the key demands of both customers and regulators.
ENHESA helps its clients understand the environmental demands of their markets.
Most of our clients face, on the one hand, growing regulatory pressures aimed at reducing the overall environmental and human health impacts of manufacturing processes and the use and final disposal of their products. On the other hand, there are also growing demands by downstream users on their suppliers to certify the environmental acceptability of their inputs.
Such pressures are moving in the direction of increasingly complex environmental criteria and specifications for substances and materials, including 'design for environment' requirements. At the same time, consumers and their “watchdogs” in environmentalist organisations continue to pose thorny questions about the environmental attributes of the products they buy, while governments increasingly restrict the type of advertising companies may employ to extol the environmental virtues of their products.
Open and Develop New Market Opportunities
- ENHESA helps companies to identify, analyse and anticipate current and future environmental issues, trends and requirements to help them open and develop new market opportunities. We track the major environmental market, regulatory and policy trends and help clients take these into consideration when determining the most appropriate approach to product stewardship in their key markets:
- Producers are increasingly required to take moral, if not legal, responsibility for their products from design, through manufacturer and use to final disposal at the end of life (i.e. packaging requirements, product take-back, design for environment criteria, toxics reduction and “substitution principle”, etc.).
- Customers are becoming increasingly sensitive to environmental quality issues, as a result of, and resulting in, the increasing use of fiscal and economic instruments in environmental policies (i.e. rising costs for waste disposal, energy taxes, strict liability for environmental damage in case of use of hazardous chemicals during maintenance, etc.); in many instances this sensitivity is a result also of the increasing adherence to international environmental management standards such as ISO 14001, OHSAS 18.000 and EMAS.
- Both producers and customers are driven by public environmental policies which are increasingly based on meeting environmental quality standards and requiring environmental risk minimisation for operations and products.
- The short-term and chronic health impacts of environmental pollution are receiving increasing attention. Feared chemical and biological “time-bombs” (e.g., endocrine disrupters, carcinogens, etc.) as well as the effects of emissions impacting the ambient environment, e.g. electromagnetic radiation, are generating major public demands for better controls, and potentially major liability risks to those manufacturing and placing offending products on the market.
- But ENHESA works with clients to turn these challenges into opportunities, and not just to better communicate the environment-friendly attributes of their products, but to identify the growing and future needs of their customers and of consumers overall for products and services that avoid giving rise to environmental concerns in the first place. Reducing and redesigning packaging to meet new or anticipated regulatory requirements or market demands can be a means for enhancing customer satisfaction while saving on the cost of packaging materials. Improving energy efficiency of equipment decreases the environmental impact of the product use and represents cost savings for the customers. Providing raw material inputs that degrade rapidly to harmless substances in the environment help alleviate concerns about negative environmental fate among customers when using them in their processes and products. Actively seeking less toxic, less hazardous and less environmentally disturbing substances and substituting these for those currently used will not only meet growing regulatory and policy obligations but will satisfy customers that companies are doing their utmost to preserve the environment, and to help their customers do so as well.
How can you ensure your products will find buyers in an increasingly “green” global marketplace?
To help our clients understand and respond to the challenges and opportunities this new paradigm presents, Enhesa provides a broad range of client-tailored services that are under continuous evolution to identify and track trends, forecast new developments, understand market pressures and respond proactively to new demands from customers and consumers in this ever evolving area of competition:
ENHESA develops country regulatory guides (as part of our EHS Compliance Service) describing in detail the relevant national, and applicable international, legislation, regulations and policies, as well as public and private institutions and organisations with influence over the regulation of the client’s products or range of products. The profiles typically detail both existing and upcoming requirements and include, as appropriate, relevant industry and competitor initiatives at the international and national levels. The Profiles also address issues such as Green Purchasing initiatives or Public Procurement Rules that take environmental issues into consideration.
Enhesa Product Compliance Services
Working with our clients to better appreciate the nature, uses and environmental issues associated with their products and the processes in which they are used, ENHESA develops tools to assist their R&D and product development centers to take into consideration the myriad issues surrounding the regulatory compliance of the final product, either as a consumer product in its own right or as an input to further industrial processes. Our product compliance assessment tools enable companies and their marketing representative assure that new products will comply with applicable restrictions in all of their key markets, such that researchers in, say Italy or the United States, incorporate product restrictions in markets such as Sweden or Japan before discovering that they cannot sell products containing certain substances or provoking certain environmental consequences in those markets.
Issue Tracking and Regulatory Monitoring
ENHESA monitors EHS regulatory developments related to specific products and their components worldwide ( Regulatory Monitoring Services ). This typically includes both current and proposed regulations and standards potentially impacting the manufacturing, placing on the market, and disposal of clients’ products.
Future Trends Forecasting
Based on our extensive knowledge of the developing regulatory, policy, and public concern issues related to the EHS aspects of our clients’ products’ lifecycles, ENHESA develops product- or issue-specific analyses of relevant future trends. The time horizon for such forecasting usually covers, with varying degrees of certainty, the short, medium, and long term, depending of the nature of the issues and the expected life span of the products. Recent forecasting exercises have looked at horizons up to ten years distant with a high degree of confidence based on current policy positions in the countries concerned. With our support, many clients have successfully redirected their R&D and product development effort to focus on those markets where there will be a real demand for products, inputs and services that meet customers future environmental concerns and assures greater market share for such products, while avoiding the development of products for which there will be little to no demand as a result of the changing regulatory or market conditions.
Rapid Response to Product Compliance Questions
Enhesa Expert Assistance Service provides clients seeking support for specific questions regarding the compliance of the products they place or plan to place in given markets. Such services frequently arise as a result of questions posed by customers, regulators or environmentalist organisations. Clients typically authorise a set maximum level of professional effort in order to better control costs and to assure that all research and analysis focuses appropriately on the specific concern at hand. If needs be, such short-term assignments can be expanded at the clients’ behest to encompass additional related issues or additional countries and markets.
Enhesa is a global environmental, health and safety consultancy, providing EHS regulatory compliance assurance support to industry worldwide.
Enhesa is based in Brussels, Washington, DC, and Tokyo.
Enhesa’s staff and global network of consultants provide strategic information and guidance on current and emerging laws, regulations, standards and industry initiatives at the international, national and local levels. Our projects have covered over 200+ countries around the globe. Our strength lies in extensive and flexible research and consulting resources around the world.
We identify, understand and help our clients comply with the multitude of legal requirements that is a fact of doing business in today’s global marketplace. Enhesa has been helping business and industry ensure ongoing compliance for years, and has developed a range of products and services tailor-made to the needs of our clients. Wherever your business is located, we are in a unique position to keep you ahead of the latest regulatory and policy issues as they unfold.
Enhesa Insight is a combination of complementary blog posts and articles that highlight the latest EHS and product related news and regulatory developments around the world.