Asia’s Regulatory Outlook for 2012 – A review of Enhesa’s Webinar

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The phenomenal recent growth in Asia has been accompanied by an equally phenomenal growth in EHS policy activity. In November 2011, Enhesa’s most recent webinar focused on Asia’s Regulatory Outlook for 2012. Between the two sessions, Enhesa hit a new attendance record of over 600 registrations for the event. About a third of webinar participants tuned in from the Asia region, which also broke a new record for Enhesa in terms of most registrants from the Asia region.

Enhesa’s Pre-Webinar Survey Results

The webinar registrants themselves had much on their mind before the presentation. Enhesa’s pre-webinar survey revealed that 93% of respondents believe that legal enforcement in Asia Pacific has become tighter over the last few years, and 87% of respondents reported experiencing difficulties in obtaining and understanding regulatory requirements in the region. Language barriers and unfamiliar legal frameworks were nominated as the major issues behind these difficulties.

Of the 78% that have encountered challenges in implementing corporate EHS policies/systems in Asia, the reasons were:

When asked about implementing corporate EHS policies in Asia, 78% of survey respondents admitted to difficulties and indicated that cultural barriers and language issues were the major cause of these challenges (Figure1).

These survey results confirmed that EHS Managers worldwide are experiencing a combination of rising legal enforcement in the Asia Pacific region, but have difficulty in understanding what is required for compliance. The statistics also demonstrate that there are challenges between corporate standards and the implementation of those standards at a local facility level due to cultural perceptions and language barriers, which is a major issue in ensuring the right EHS practices are happening. Enhesa examined these concerns and built a presentation aimed to ease anxieties with a complete breakdown of regulatory trends into something clear and comprehensive for a global audience.

Growing Regulatory Trends in the Asia Pacific

Enhesa consultants Yuko Dvorak-Miyata, Sarah O’Brien and Ellen Zhang presented the webinar, which provided a rich overview of policy and regulatory trends in the Asia-Pacific region. The overview of the region examined the regional and economical differences in the region, the growing influence of globalization on EHS regulation and common misconceptions. It also demonstrated to viewers the level of recorded growth that Enhesa has seen in the amount of regulations in the Asia Pacific region over the recent years. Despite the fact that 2012’s data aren’t fully recorded just yet, we can see a clear increase over the years of EHS legislation in the region (Figure 2).

The webinar identified four major regulatory trends that will be occupying EHS professionals in Asia and the Pacific over the coming years: climate change; chemicals management; product regulations; and health and safety. Regulatory activity in each of these areas is growing in the region, and often the pace of change can be rapid with little uniformity in the approaches adopted by each government.

With regards to climate change, the webinar reviewed the targets and commitments made by Asia-Pacific countries and the impacts of these commitments for businesses. For example, under the Kyoto Protocol binding targets, Japan has pledged to reduce their total emissions by 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. We are also seeing some Asia Pacific countries starting to make non-binding commitments to reduce emissions. China is one example of this, pledging to reduce emissions “intensity” (making production methods more efficient and reducing the amount of emissions released per unit of production) by 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2020. In the case of Japan, businesses can expect to see changes like adapting to models needed to suit a low carbon economy and the need to improve energy efficiency. In cases like China, businesses can expect to see impacts such as a growing focus on technological improvement, and pressure from export markets for low-carbon products and more environmental information.

The webinar’s regulatory outlook for chemicals management focused on the implementation of GHS and REACH-like regulatory developments in the region. The review of product regulations provided updates on RoHS-like and end-of-like regulations. A review of trends in health and safety regulation was given in the presentation, which looked at the expansion of coverage and tightening controls on hazardous chemicals handling.

Ellen then presented on trends in compliance and enforcement in several Asia-Pacific countries. Contrary to what many may think, enforcement activity in the region is growing and several notable examples were given in the presentation. For example, in November 2010, a company in the Philippines was fined approximately half a million US dollars in pollution fines after the DENR Pollution Adjudication Board found the company liable for a petroleum leak that contaminated water in an area in Makati City. China is another prime example of recent enforcement growth. According to the The Socialist System of Laws with Chinese Characteristics, published in the White Paper in October 2011, “Chinese authorities have investigated over 80,000 cases of violation of environmental protection laws, and closed 7,293 offending enterprises over the past 5 years.” We can conclude that not only are new regulations growing, but the enforcement of those regulations is equally increasing.

Enhesa Solutions

Enhesa concluded the webinar acknowledging the fact that regulatory trends in Asia Pacific are unique and not congruent as a region. Focus and attention must be placed on the particular differences of each country, as the regulatory environments are diverse and complex. On the other hand, diversity and complexity doesn’t have to be a barrier to compliance.

At this point in the webinar, it was time to fully address respondents’ initial concerns of keeping track of new regulations and understanding what is required of them. Yuko concluded the webinar with Enhesa’s complete compliance solution to managing these trends.

Enhesa equips companies with a variety of services to address the following compliance steps:

Identifying applicable regulations – Regulatory Registers

  • Understanding requirements – Country Profiles and Audit Protocols
  • Planning for compliance – Consulting/Helpline and Compliance Manager
  • Implementing a compliance strategy – Training and Verification Outcomes
  • Ensuring and verifying compliance – Audit Protocols and Audits
  • Managing continual change – Regulatory Monitoring

Enhesa’s services provide companies with a full solution for every angle of a compliance program. Enhesa’s features are also designed to address those difficult aspects survey respondents polled, like cultural and language barriers. With a team of over 75 in-house consultants from all over the globe, our regulatory regional experts are only a Helpline away to helping you tackle local level issues. Enhesa’s services can also be provided in local language – which minimizes miscommunication gaps. Managing compliance has never been easier with Enhesa’s tailored solutions. If you are interested in learning more about what Enhesa can offer your company, please email us at info@enhesa.com.

Enhesa’s Webinar Program

Enhesa’s no-charge webinar program provides EHS Managers with timely information on the most vital EHS issues around the world. Our next topic to start of 2012 will be on how to manage compliance for warehouses, offices and non-manufacturing activities. If you would like to be on our 2012 webinar invitation list, please send your request to webinars@enhesa.com. We look forward to having you join us!

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